Tartiflette, the most glorious potatoe based dish on the planet.
1kg potatoes, 200g smoked lardons, 200g onions thinly sliced, 30cl crème fraîche, 1 Reblechon cheese, salt and pepper, butter. (The ingredients do vary but these are your staples)
I’ve been trolling the internet for the perfect tartiflette recipe, and have decided to provide you with my own ‘rustic’ and improvised version, with advice from french flatmates and first hand tasting experience. You can do it almost anyway you want but the reblechon cheese is essential.
1 – Boil all the potatoes, you can leave the skin on if you so wish and even slice them once boiled.
2 – Fry onions (and a bit of garlic if you fancy) in a SMALL amount of olive oil.
3 – Once the onions are turning soft, add the lardons/pancetta/tiny bits ‘o’ bacon and fry until the lardons are cooked and the onions are caramelized. Now add the crème fraîche, stirrrrrrr.
4 – At this point, turn on the oven to er quite hot, but not extremely so. In an over proof dish add a thin layer of sliced potatoes, then spoon on some of the lardons/crème fraîche. Potatoes, lardons, repeat. Season at will, though go easy on the salt.
5 – When your dish is full, slice your reblechon in half like you would a sponge cake, then place your two halves crust up on the mixture in the dish. Put in the oven until the cheese is melting and bubbling.
6 – Serve and eat with crusty french bread, or whatever you fancy. Bon appetit.
Grenoble is in the Rhone-Alpes region, famous for its fromagey specialities, including the delicious tartiflette which uses Reblechon, a creamy cheese produced in the Savoie so not only was it delicious but it was a local speciality! Regional cuisine is a strong concept in France, which greatly adds to the sense of identity. The regional food around Grenoble tended to be rich and creamy, with lots of potatoes and meat. This may sound heavy but it is perfectly in tune with the harsher winter climates of the mountainous region. Whilst a delicious seafood platter is perfect for a town on the Mediterranean it is back to the cheese board in Grenoble. I certainly wasn’t complaining.
One of the first times that I tasted this dish of potatoe perfection was from a street vendor at the Lyon ‘Fête des Lumières’. The festival is a yearly spectacle where walls are transformed with light displays and windows are lined with candles. The streets are filled with brass bands, food vendors, lights and colour all celebrating the originally religious festival. Thus inspired I hosted a festive gathering, suitably entitled ‘Tartifête’, with tartiflette as the special guest. Expecting leftovers I made enough to feed an army but by the end of the evening there wasn’t a crumb left. Hence why I couldn’t resist sharing a recipe that I associate with so many fond memories of France.