Monday, September 24, 2007

WFD? Tartiflette: French Comfort Food

What is more comforting than the combination of cheese and potatoes? In the cooler months here in Canada, I can't think of anything. For this exquisite marriage of the two, I have to hand it to the French; they really, really know how to make one's tummy smile.

Tartiflette before baking...
Tartiflette after baking.

It’s was Valli over at More than Burnt Toast, who has been singing the praises of the humble potato recently, who inspired me to finally try out this French potato dish. For a while now I’ve had the recipe (which came in a flyer from the local liquor store!) but put off making it because it always seemed like a cooler weather dish to me.

Fortunately, I didn’t wait too long because it was fantastic! Imagine: fresh potatoes with some sautéed onions and slab bacon, a dash of white wine, and thick cream; all topped with an entire round of tangy, rich cheese and baked slowly until the cream bubbles up and the cheese oozes out.

A glorified scalloped potato? Perhaps, but absolutely over-the-top delicious. It reminded me a bit of raclette, another French meal where you melt Raclette cheese under a tabletop grill and scrape it onto boiled potatoes and various other morsels. Of course, this is like the casserole version (hate that word) and I can imagine it making an ideal apres-ski feast.

Wait a minute. Was I just wishing for snow for a second? Really, this pregnancy is doing funny things to my head!


Noah and I dug these fresh spuds up from the garden and the taste of them was a real reminder that homegrown potatoes really are a step above anything you can buy, no matter how fresh. Funnily enough,these beauties popped up uninvited as a result of some random potato from the compost going to seed. Thank goodness they did!

Next year I plan on planting a whole plot of potatoes...I'll need them for all the tartiflette I'll be making!

If you are unable to locate the traditional Reblochon cheese (I couldn't), substitute another semi-soft, cow's milk cheese that is creamy, but with a bite to it!

Valli, this recipe is for you.

Tartiflette

1 ¾ lb Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
150 g blanched lardons or slab bacon
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white wine
1 pinch nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper
¾ cup 35% cream
1 small wheel Reblochon cheese (240g)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender, but still slightly firm in the center. Drain, cool and cut into cubes.
In a skillet, lightly brown the lardons. Add the onion and continue cooking for two minutes. Deglaze with white wine. Let reduce by half.

Add the cubed potatoes, nutmeg and pepper. Mix well. Pour into a lightly buttered ovenproof casserole. Drizzle the cream over the top. Remove the rind from the bottom of the cheese and lightly scratch the top rind of the cheese. Place the cheese rind up on the potato mixture.

Bake on the lowest rack in the oven for 40 -45 minutes.
Serve immediately.

23 comments:

Valli said...

Aime you are really too sweet. I love having a dish dedicated after me!!! And what a dish it is. I almost fell off my chair when I saw it!! An entire round of cheese on top of all that wonderful goodness. Simply mindblogging and definetely droolworthy!!!!!

Zaak said...

I have to ask if it feels really heavy, like eating raclette, afterwards. I'm sure it's right tasty. I miss cheese selection like the dickens. Around here it's standard cheddar, monterey, swiss, gouda, and mozza - and it's a scary possibility each time that it might be processed cheese rather than original.

Mandy said...

Looks devine...

Miranda said...

That looks freaking amazing! I mean you cant go wrong with cheese potatoes and bacon!

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I had Tartiflette for the first time a few years ago and thought it was (insert expletive of your choice) amazing! Yours looks perfect with the whole cheese sat on the top prior to baking.

Deborah said...

You had me at cheese!! This looks amazing!

Belinda said...

Aimee...I have to agree with you 110%...there is no better combination than cheese and potatoes. And your rendition of this perfect combination is particularly irresistible. The addition of wine to the cheese/potato equation takes it over the top...perfection! :-)

Nora B. said...

Aimee, this sounds like serious comfort food. I better make this soon before it heats up too much in Sydney.

Alexandra Shandling said...

Aside from being a heart attack in a bowl - it looks amazing and I shall make it tonight for our dinner! I had better go for a swim first though!

Kevin said...

Cheese, bacon and potatoes make for a great dish.

Tartelette said...

This is one of the dishes I make during the winter...wishing for snow...I love tartiflette amd would eat it breakfast-lunch-dinner!

Terry B said...

Oh. My. God. Potatoes and cheese and bacon and made from a recipe from a liquor store? This is too wonderful!

Aimée said...

Hi Valli- You had it coming to you! Glad you liked it.:)

Hi Zaak- Not quite as heavy as raclette, just because with raclette one tends to over eat! It's certainly not light, though. It was lovely with a fresh fall salad of apples, celery, and pecans.

Hi Mandy- Thanks! We enjoyed it.

Hi Miranda- Hear, hear!

Hi Amanda- Were you in France at the time? Now that would really be something.

Hi Deborah- Merci! The cheese is really the crowning glory of the dish.

Hi Belinda- I see you can really appreciate comfort food when you see it! Thanks for your sweet comment.

Hi Nora- What we enjoy in the fall, you work into your spring. So interesting! Hope you enjoy it.

Hi Alex- How nice to see you drop in!! How is your heart after eating this dish? :)

Hi Kevin- It certainly appeals to the masses, and kids love it too!

Hi Helen- You must make a tried and true version of it. That I would love to taste!

Hi Terry- Nope, you're not dreaming!

winedeb said...

Hi Aimee! I come to visit from Valli blog. We all have been on such a potato kick lately, but I think yours wins the prize! I am enjoying the photo of the whole cheese prior to baking! Cool!

Sarah B said...

I agree with deborah, you had me at the cheese. This looks amazing. I am going to try it this weekend. Thanks!

I love the picture of your potatoes, too. Another inspiration.

Dayna said...

I'm with Valli, I nearly fell off my chair. This looks fantastic!I never would have imagined an entire wheel of cheese baked atop lovely, simple potatoes.
I think I'll be making this next weekend and give the potatoes a little centre stage of the turkey.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Sadly not, though it was still pretty near perfect. I was in a very old and beautiful house, roaring log fire, good wine and company.

Aimée said...

Hi winedeb- welcome to UtHC! You are most welcome. Glad you enjoyed the post.

Hi Sarah- A warm welcome to you too. hope you enjoyed your tartiflette. Good luck with your new blog!

Hi Dayna- good idea! What not use this for a potato dish for Thanksgiving! Thanks for stopping by. Your blog is beautiful, BTW.

Hi Amanda- Sounds very memorable and not just because of the food!

KevinB said...

You know, Mati is the ultimate tartiflette maker. Roblechon comes from the Savoie region of the French Alps, near Switzerland, where Mati grew up. He has made many a fantastic tartiflette with the pungent roblechon brought back from a trip home and authentic lardons bought at the local butcher. Melanie and I have a nice French grocery near our place which sells roblechon. I'll show you guys next time your in our neck of the woods.

Peter M said...

Aimee, this looks utterly decadent and delish!

jonathan said...

Had this from a supplier (in a jar) last month and was surprised how good it was. It's one of these mixtures of simple ingredients that creates something better than the sum of the parts.

Anonymous said...

tkman
In 1991 I had a dish like this after a day skiing in the alps.
It was fantastic.
At the time I thought there was apple in the dish as well, however that may be due to my poor French where I mistook pomme de terre as apples.
Could there be a tartiflette with apples?
Been searching for a recipe ever since and I will try this one soon.

Bellini Valli said...

I finally made a Tartiflette Aimee. The Reblechon cheese was elusive so I had to settle for raclette but I was still in cheesy potato heaven:D

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