The Cowgirl Creamery Cookbook is a must for any cheese-lover's kitchen. Packed with stories, recipes and plenty of other reasons to gorge yourself on fine cheese, the cowgirls' masterful new book is a great reason to neglect that brick of boring cheddar and open yourself up to something a little more exciting. There may be no greater dish celebrating cheese than Swiss raclette, and no better time to make it than right now.

Traditional fare in the Raclette area of the Alps, this may be the simplest and most time-honored method of cooking cheese.

Raclette comes from the French word racler, which means “to scrape,” and that’s what you do: toast thick cheese slices and, when the cheese starts to bubble and brown, scrape off that good, melted, browned top layer onto boiled potatoes or crispy toast. Raclette isn’t just a matter of melting the cheese; browning the top layer gives this dish its distinct and satisfying flavor. An indoor raclette grill, which is made to sit in the center of your dining table, or a barbeclette to use on an outdoor grill does this nicely, but if you don’t own either tool, use a small skillet and brown the cheese right under your oven’s broiler, while keeping a close watch (don’t walk away while the raclette is in the oven or over the fire).

Crisp, acidic homemade pickles cut the buttery richness of the melted cheese. These pickles are quick and easy. Just heat the pickling solution; pour it over slices of squash, sliced onions, or halved baby carrots; and let the mixture sit for an hour. We like to make extra pickled vegetables; they keep in the refrigerator for weeks and are great in sandwiches. If you don’t have time to pickle vegetables, serve raclette with cornichons.

Reprinted with permission from Cowgirl Creamery Cooks