So, it’s the New Year, the gales are blowing, and rain is lashing down and you are wanting something substantial after partying out 2017. Tartiflette is a truly indulgent dish, a hearty, rich, starchy treat for your taste buds, traditionally served after a strenuous morning on the ski slopes — or at least a brisk winter’s morning walk. We do not get the opportunity to ski very much on Jersey and the last snow created travel chaos. My Tartiflette recipe is a memory of times spent on the slopes and ideal if you have been brave enough to start the New Year blowing out the cobwebs on a preamble along the cliff tops and building up a very hearty appetite.
When making Tartiflette it is important to use the right cheese, usually a ripe Reblochon, which you can find in a good deli. It is a rind washed cheese with a soft centre and light bloom of fine white mould from cellar ageing, traditionally produced in the French Alps. The richness of the cheese and its very name derives from the tradition of the farmers withholding a little milk from their landlords by not milking the herd fully. The withheld milk was creamier resulting in a superior cheese. The cows were milked twice, and the name Reblochon literally translates as ‘twice pinched udder’.
Tartiflette serves 8
3 kg medium-sized Red Potatoes, such as Desirée, thoroughly washed
2 large White Onions, peeled and finely diced
12 thick rashers of Smoked Streaky Bacon, diced
200 gr Button Mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced ( optional )
2 large Carrots, peeled and thinly sliced ( optional )
50 gr Butter
1 Garlic clove, peeled and cut in half
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1 ripe Reblochon Cheese
Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F/ Gas Mark 5. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the potatoes whole, in their skins, for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the onion, bacon, and carrots in the butter in a heavy frying pan over a medium heat, they should soften but not brown. Drain the potatoes and as soon as they are cool enough to handle peel them — the quicker the better and slice thickly.
Take an ovenproof earthenware dish and rub it well with the halves of garlic. Layer half the sliced potatoes across the base, season, then scatter over the onion, bacon, carrots and the mushrooms if included. Add the remaining potatoes and more seasoning. Place the whole Reblochon on top in thick slices. Bake for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 180 C / 350 F / Gas Mark 4 for a further twenty to twenty-five minutes. The Reblochon should melt within its skin and the melted cheese drip down while the potatoes crisp.
Allergens in this recipe are;