As she suggests, and as I have succesfully attempted, it is a great recipe to create and then enjoy with friends around a bon fire. So, one lovely September/October weekends, head to Ocean Beach for a bon fire!
(No reservations are necessary, just arrive early enough to stake claim on a fire pit. Fires must be extinguished by 9pm but that still provides plenty of sunset gazing and huddling around the fire time. P.S. Don't forget your jacket!)
Melted Raclette Bowls with PUMPKIN salsa
Serves 8 to 10 people
Prep 20 minutes
Cook time About 1 hour
2 orange bell peppers, seeded and diced
1 1/4 pound firm fleshed pumpkin or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and finely diced
Leaves from 4 sprigs of oregano, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Splash of your favorite balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 3/4 pounds raclette cheese (semi- firm, cow's milk cheese)
A few rustic Italian breads to serve with this deliciousness, slice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Divide the peppers, pumpkin, and about one-quarter of the oregano between two roasting trays and douse each pile with a little oil to coat, saving at least 2 tablespoons for the finished salsa. Season generously and roast for 50 minutes, until browned and sticky. Set aside to cool.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet, shaking often, until golden. Combine with the pumpkin mixture and the remaining salsa ingredients, including the remaining oil and oregano. Toss well! Taste, the flavors should make you say, "YUM!" Add a splash more vinegar or black pepper if you want. You can make this a few days in advance and keep it in the refrigerator, just make sure to let it get to room temperature when you go to eat it.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Slice the cheese thickly (with the rind) and divide it between four oven proof bowls or dishes. Cook each for 8 to 10 minutes to melt the cheese. Spoon the salsa onto each bowl of cheese and serve with bread for dipping and scooping.
To transport it, wrap each bowl in foil and hurry down the bon fire (that hopefully your friends have set ablaze for you while you worked hard making this tasty treat).
*Trader Joe's sells raclette cheese!