Tartiflette-ish

13 10 2008

Last month, when I was preparing for Chez Loulou’s Fête du Fromage, Nick and I went to the store in search of cheeses we had never tried before.  We ended up with this spread:

French Muenster, Saint Albray, Crottin de Chèvre, Doré de l'Abbaye

Each one is worthy of its own post, but today I’m going to write about the one on the bottom left: Doré de l’Abbaye.  It is a washed-rind cheese, so I expected it to be pretty strong and stinky.  Not so.  Very similar to Port Salut, it has a thin orange rind which is edible but not particularly tasty.  The off-white cheese inside is semi-soft with a very mild stinky-cheese flavor.  An entry-level washed-rind cheese, I would not hesitate to serve this one to newbies or people who are apprehensive about esoteric cheeses.  The texture of it reminded us a bit of Monterey Jack, and we hoped that it might be a good cheese for melting.

Which brings me to the tartiflette-of-sorts.  One of Nick’s colleagues (the one who told me about tartiflette to begin with) brought him a box of buckwheat pasta squares, which had a variation of the recipe on the back.

Savoyard buckwheat pasta

While I love the idea of pasta, cream, bacon and cheese baked together in a gooey, delicious mess, I thought I should attempt to sneak some vegetables into the dish, so as to make it a more complete meal.  Considering the sauce is basically the famous bacon-onion dip, I figured I could bulk that up with a leek or two without drastically affecting the flavor.  Then I saw the first winter squash display of the season.  After much internal debate, I chose the patidou.

That gorgeous skin was a real pain to peel, I must admit.

About the size of an acorn squash, the patidou has smooth flesh and a sweet, nutty flavor akin to butternut squash.  I just knew it would be delicious in my tartiflette-like dish.  So I peeled and diced it and sautéed it in butter until it started to brown.

Tasty caramelized patidou squash

I moved it to a bowl and used the same pan to start the bacon cooking for the sauce.  When it had given up most of its magical fat, I added a large leek, sliced into little pieces, and let it soften and begin to caramelize.  All this joined forces with a container of crème fraîche, and I set that aside for a moment, too.

Bacon-leek dip

Meanwhile, I was boiling water for the crozets.  When they were ready, I drained them and poured them into the bowl with the patidou.  I plopped the leek mixture on top and gently stirred it all together.  Into my baking dish it went, and I topped it with the diced remains of the Doré de l’Abbaye (remember that?).  A few minutes in the oven to heat it through and melt the cheese, and dinner was served.

The final tartiflette-inspired creation

As predicted, the cheese melted beautifully and melded wonderfully with the rest of the flavors in the dish.  It may not have been traditional, but it was a hearty, warming meal for one of the first cold nights of autumn.  Thanks, Sabine!

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

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6 responses

13 10 2008
Loulou

I’m inviting myself to your house for dinner! This looks absolutely gorgeous!

Thanks for joining in the 2nd Fête du Fromage. I’ll have the round up posted on Wednesday.

13 10 2008
Sam

That looks so delicious, I’m trying to think of how I could make this with English ingredients.

My all time favourite French cheese is Epoisses, if you’ve not tried it you really should!

14 10 2008
croquecamille

Loulou – Well, maybe that can be arranged the next time you’re in Paris…

Sam – I’m sure you’ll come up with something grand! And I love Epoisses too – it may be the first cheese I ate without trimming off the rind.

15 10 2008
spacedlaw

This looks wonderful!
I’ll have to find a local (Italian) equivalent and try this… SOON.

15 10 2008
Betty C.

Everything I’ve ever made with “crozets” has turned to gold…

16 10 2008
croquecamille

Spacedlaw – Thanks! I’m interested to see the international versions of this.

Betty – They’re pretty great, aren’t they?




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