Croûte au fromage is a common comfort food found throughout Switzerland. The type of cheese, bread, and wine used to assemble the most basic version of this dish, which is effectively cheesy toast—can vary depending on which region you happen to be enjoying it in. Photographer Simon Bajada, who visited and interviewed several Alpine cheesemakers, uses a splash of Fendant—a crisp and mineral white wine from Valais—in his recipe, but feel free to swap in any dry white wine.
The bones of the basic croûte au fromage recipe are simple and adaptable; feel free to choose your own adventure by tucking a slice of ham under the cheese before baking, or by topping the soft and gooey toast with a sunny-side egg. Other traditional options include crispy lardons and sautéed mushrooms. As with fondue and raclette, tangy pickles and chilled white wine are classic accompaniments that brighten and enhance the otherwise fatty dish.
- 1 1¼-inch. thick slice crusty sourdough bread, lightly toasted
- 1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. Fendant or other dry white wine, plus more for serving
- 6–7 oz. raclette cheese, coarsely grated or sliced ½-inch. thick
- Pickled cocktail onions and cornichons, for serving
- Preheat the oven (with one of its racks positioned in the center) to 450°F.
- To an 8-inch ceramic baking dish or cast iron skillet, add the toast. Sprinkle the surface of the bread with the wine, then pile on the cheese. Transfer to the oven and cook until the cheese has melted over the edges of the toast to reveal the crust, about 8 minutes. Remove from the ove, cool slightly, then serve with cocktail onions, cornichons, and a glass of Fendant, if desired.