You didn’t think I could get through Savoie month without discussing Tartiflette, did you? I’ve made variations on the theme in my kitchen before, but this time, I wanted to try my hand at the real deal. Using Robuchon’s recipe as a reference, I began by sautéeing lardons and added thinly sliced leeks once the bacon had rendered. (Onions would be more traditional, but the CSA people keep sending me leeks.)
While the leek-bacon mixture cooked, I cut some potatoes (also from the CSA panier – look at me, cooking all local and organic!) into cubes – didn’t bother peeling them – and boiled them until they were tender. When the leeks were beginning to caramelize, I poured some white wine into the pan and let it cook a few minutes longer until the wine was reduced to a glaze.
I scraped this heavenly-smelling concoction over the drained potatoes and stirred gently to coat the potatoes in the bacony, winey goodness.
All this was transferred to my oval gratin dish, where it awaited its final garnish and trip to the oven.
The final garnish consisting of, besides the drizzle of cream, half a Reblochon cheese. (You gotta love any dish that calls for half a wheel of cheese!)
Reblochon is an AOC, washed-rind, cow’s milk cheese. It is traditionally made from the second milking of the day, which produces a richer, creamier product. The cheese is washed in saltwater or whey and aged at least a month. The distinctive orange rind has a bit of a musty flavor, while the cheese inside is smooth, nutty, and very savory. This time, I happened to get my Reblochon at the Alléosse fromagerie. With their cavessituated beneath the streets of Paris, you can be sure that any cheese purchased here is at the peak of its ripeness. The Reblochon I got was perfect – gooey in the center with a slightly firm rind. Most of the tartiflettes I’ve seen simply have the cheese sliced in half horizontally and placed rind-side-up on top of the potatoes. Robuchon, however, suggests removing the rind and cutting the cheese into cubes, which is exactly what I did. I then scattered them on top of the potato mixture and baked the tartiflette until the cheese had fully melted into the depths of the gratin.
Yeah, it’s as good as it looks. Better, even. Tartiflette absolutely MUST be served with a salad – I ate it with broiled endives in hazelnut vinaigrette – and a glass of white wine. It makes great leftovers, too. In fact, I’m having it again tonight. Don’t worry, I got a nice big lettuce in the panier, too.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.