Fabulous potato dishes: ‘Tartiflette’

TartifletteFor the last week I’ve been holidaying at my parent’s house in Cascastel, amongst the rolling hills of the Corbières. This southern part of France and the Languedoc in particular boasts some truly wonderful dishes. Local specialities such as ‘Bourride’ (fish stew with aïoli); ‘Confit de Canard’ (duck cooked slowly in its own fat); and ‘Cargolade’ (grilled snails), which are eaten off the grill with aïoli. A cuisine rich in local ingredients; olives, thyme, duck, sorrel and almonds. All complimented by a host of equally great wines.

So why, you may ask am I making a dish from the the Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France. Maybe its because I’m contrary? Well I can be, but that’s not it. The reason is nostalgia. The first time I ate this hearty bistro dish was in a café in Narbonne. It was served with Toulouse sausage and washed down with a glass of Fitou. A perfect meal, enjoyed in what was to become my favourite part of France. From that day on Tartiflette and the Languedoc became inseparable for me.

Tartiflette is one of those recipes that appeals to my idea of good food, simple with a few well chosen ingredients; potatoes, bacon and of course Reblochon cheese. All of which I bought at ‘Les Halles’ – Narbonne’s famous indoor food market.Les Halles Food MarketThis elegant iron and sandstone pavilion, built in 1901, is crammed full of the best local produce. Stalls overflowing with seasonal vegetables, silver bellied fish packed in ice, fresh (properly hung) red meat and cured sausages hanging from hooks. The aroma of ground coffee, croissants fresh from the oven and maturing cheese is intoxicating. The building buzzes with bustling shoppers and banter from stall holders encouraging people to try their wares. Without a doubt, this is a food lovers paradise and not to be missed.
There is probably no definitive recipe for tartiflette, although I know a few French people who would disagree. My version is based on the recipe from the ‘Syndicat Interprofessionnel du Reblochon’, who reputedly developed the dish back in 1980 to promote their cheese. Anyway feel free to experiment and make it your own. I would however, recommend sticking with the soft, wonderfully creamy Reblochon cheese – some things can’t be improved upon.

La Tartiflette:
Serves 4 people

1kg/2lb 4oz waxy potatoes
2 onions (sliced into half-moons)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
250g/8oz bacon or lardons
1 Reblochon cheese (with the crust still on)
4 tbsp. crème fraîche
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 7.
2. Boil the potatoes in a pan of salted boiling water with their skins on for 10 minutes, or until tender. Then drain and set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a hot frying pan, fry the onion, bacon and garlic for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.
4. Slice the potatoes fairly thinly and layer into an ovenproof gratin dish starting with a the onion mixture then the potatoes, a few blobs of crème fraîche and slices of Reblochon. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Repeat until all the ingredients have been used. The the last layer should have potatoes and cheese at the top.
5. Drizzel with olive oil and bake in the oven for 10-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden-brown and bubbling.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this delicious looking La Tartiflette, it’s simple and nice so I have bookmarked it. I love “the fresh (properly hung) red meat and cured sausages hanging from hooks” It’s long since I saw some read meat hanging, France must be a very interesting place. Have a lovely weekend! and thanks for stopping by.

  2. I love eating tartiflette in wintertime! Thanks for sharing your wonderful appetizing recipe! I also love Reblonchon cheese,..;so tasty & fab!

  3. Oh my goodness! That looks amazing! Bacon, cheese, potatoes! I cannot think of a better combination.

  4. The market sounds a great draw. 🙂

    • It’s one of my favorite places. Eating lunch there is quite an experience. The ingredients are thrown and passed from market stall to chef as the customers place their orders.

  5. Gasp. That such a place exists. They order these things better in France. One of the best lunches had was 5 whelks (bulots) and mayonnaise somewhere near St.Valery sur Somme.

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