When I hear about French cuisine the first dishes that pop into mind are snails, and frogs legs, croissants and chocolate mouse, ratatoulle and bouliabaise…no one every said anything about tartiflette. Until I moved to France that is, and suddenly, winter couldn’t come sooner as an excuse to enjoy the first tartiflette of the year (or a tartiflette pizza, tartiflette moules, tartiflette anything).
Real Frenchies don’t eat croissants and snails everyday, but they are proud of their local specialties and eat seasonally. And the reputation that French cooking has for super complicated impossibly butter dishes, not quite true either. Spring and summer bring on the barbecued meats and fresh salads and winter offers their unending abundance of simple, creamy, gooey cheese dishes. Tartiflette is at the top of the simple winter dish list.
Like a French interpretation of a baked potato (swimming in cheese sauce with bacon!) it is far from being a dish that you have to go to the Cordon Bleu to master. With the right ingredients, an oven, and a nice crusty baguette you’ll have typical french meal to impress with your friends with or to keep warm with while that polar vortex makes its way out. Serve with fresh green salad to balance out the gooey wonder, and Enjoy!
Tartiflette via Marmiton.org (France’s go-to recipe website)
240 grams Reblochon cheese (washed) **If you can’t find Reblochon cheese, try using Brie or Camembert for a similar taste.
5-6 potatoes, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup bacon, cut into small pieces
One large onion, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 cup dry white wine (Apremont or a dry Savoie wine, if possible), and 1-2 cloves garlic crushed
1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until al dente.
2. While the potatoes are boiling, add about 1 tablespoon of oil or butter to a large pan and saute the onions until golden (add garlic option here). Add the bacon and brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add potatoes to the onion and bacon pan (add optional wine here!) season with salt and pepper to taste and saute for about 15 minutes.
4. Transfer the potato mix into a casserole dish.
5. Cut the reblochon in half, making two discs of cheese, and place the cheese over the potato mix. (I used 1 1/2 discs, and saved the rest of the cheese to devour tomorrow with a fresh baguette.)
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden. These will have melted into the whole dish and be gooey and bubbling.
Serve with a green salad and crusty baguette and enjoy this easy, classic French winter favorite for a warm dinner while watching the Winter Games in Sochi! Let me know what you think!