Nigella Eats Everything

Writing on food and France

French cooking: Tartiflette

I’ve eaten an eye-watering amount of processed meat recently. They say a diet of processed meat is bad for you, but when push comes to shove, I bet whoever ‘they’ are would submit to that meat coma with the rest of us. I emerged from this pork-induced fog after eating four-days’ worth of rillettes, saucisson, pate, foie gras and some very good herbed ham, although fully-consciously continued into the fifth day to eat a picnic of the exact same, complete with baguette and creamy butter from our local dairy, while sheltering in the car at a bleak service station on the motorway. The French find a gourmet banquet in any given situation.

tartiflette

The build up to Christmas in France wouldn’t be right without the obligatory selection of potted and cured meats materialising from the fridge every couple of hours, crowding the table, a pat of butter and baguette never out of arm’s reach. While the amount of meat I’ve consumed has been, in my opinion, alarming and I don’t think my body would let me add a sixth day to this meaty week, this culinary adventure has not exactly been a hardship. Every lunch, or drinks with friends, has been a blissful raid of the fridge for another moreish meat snack, along with briny olives and maybe some cornichons.

This year Christmas has been a jolly muddle of British meets French as I find my footing in French culture, and introduce Gaylord to my own Christmas traditions, armed with pigs in blankets and stuffing balls. As I don’t think I could have eaten another piece of ham, I flew back to the UK for Christmas, however it’s been a gourmet whirlwind learning French traditions in which food plays a pivotal (and agreeable) role, and meat and the supremely oozy tartiflette are two of those Christmassy discoveries.

tartiflette nigellaeatseverything.com

Tartiflette: the best winter food in France

Tartiflette is a chalet staple; the perfect rich and warming meal to eat after a day on the slopes. As I have never skiied, snowboarded or willingly slid down a mountain in my life, I can’t speak from experience about that post-ski dinner, but I hear it’s quite excellent. I am fully prepared to agree because even without any exercise beforehand, tartiflette is my new favourite winter dish.

It contains all the essential ingredients for wintery gut-busting indulgence: layers of potato, onions cooked in white wine and butter until sticky and sweet, salty smokey lardons, and a topping of an entire round gooey cheese.

Tartiflette has nothing to hide; it’s proud of its simple sweet and smokey flavours and its rugged appearance, its thick oozy surface of cheese, and it smugly acknowledges that you will be scraping that crispy cheese off the side of the baking dish before long, all manners forgotten. Plus, tartiflette is fully aware that you’re basically eating layers of bacon and molten reblochon cheese, with the potato acting as a mere sponge.

During the winter, we need food which feels like a warm hug. Most mornings it’s gloomy, even in the south of France, and the dark and cold of the season can feel incredibly bitter. So, to counteract that darkness, we string twinkly Christmas lights up. To fight the cold we eat tartiflette, a food which acts like the most affordable counsellor and a generous one, full of cheese and a sprinkling of bacon, in case you hadn’t already eaten enough processed meat.

tartiflette

Christmas is that perfect time to let our hair down and eat those naughty nibbles we try to restrain ourselves from throughout the year. It’s the reason I added a dollop of mincemeat to my porridge yesterday, and will definitely do it again today. So, embrace the meat and cheese of the Christmas season, and follow the French’s example by baking a bubbling, cheesy tartiflette.

Merry Christmas! xxx

Tartiflette

Gaylord’s tartiflette doesn’t have specific quantities. He eyeballs the quantity of potatoes and onions for the number of people – last month we made tartiflette for 30 with two sacks of onions and three sacks of potatoes and there were some leftovers.
Traditional tartiflette requires a specific wine which Gaylord was determined to include, however, he couldn’t find it so we used a bog-standard one and it still tasted delicious. If you’re feeling fancy and French, try the specific wine.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: French
Keyword: lardons, onion, potato, tartiflette
Servings: 4
Author: Gaylord Sztulman’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 3-4 large potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 250 ml Apremont white wine see introduction
  • 200 g smoked bacon lardons
  • 1 round of reblochon cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Peel the potatoes and slice them into ½cm rounds. Put them into a saucepan of cold salted water, place over the heat and bring to the boil. Cook until partially done but tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, finely slice the onion. Cook the slices in butter over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, then once soft add the wine to deglaze the pan. Continue to cook the onions until the wine has evaporated.
  • At the same time, in another frying pan, cook the lardons until golden.
  • Take a deep-sided baking dish and tip in half the onions then cover with half of the lardons. Layer the potato on top then repeat with the remaining onions and lardons.
  • Cut the wheel of cheese in half through the middle so that you have two thinner rounds. Slice the rounds into quarters, and place them, cut-side down, rind up, on the onions and lardons. Cut the cheese into smaller pieces to fill spaces where you can.
  • Slide the dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is gold and bubbling. Serve with green vegetables if you want to feel healthy.

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15 responses to “French cooking: Tartiflette”

  1. Monch Weller Avatar

    Just looking at the cheese makes me hungry at 1:20 in the morning haha!

    Merry Christmas, by the way! 🎄

    1. Nigella Eats Everything Avatar

      Hahaha clearly we’re kindred spirits! Merry Christmas!

      1. Monch Weller Avatar

        Merry Christmas too! 🎄

  2. Thistles and Kiwis Avatar

    Gosh that looks good!

    1. Nigella Eats Everything Avatar

      Thank you! It’s really rather outrageous, it feels very naughty to eat!

  3. chef mimi Avatar

    Great post! The first time I had tartiflette was in Annecy, 2001. I remember it well. And, also discovering Reblochon was a blessing. One of my still favorite stinky cheeses! Naughty or not, it’s damn good! Happy New Year!

    1. Nigella Eats Everything Avatar

      Oh the perfect location for tartiflette! And yes reblochon is also a favourite of mine, in fact my friend introduced me to it on a cheese board and I’ve never looked back! Happy New Year to you too!

  4. […] settled under my skin. My sub-conscious urges me to eat salad after a month of gorging myself (see last month’s confessions of a meat-aholic), so my mind keeps drifting to vegetables assuming that’s what I, and you dear reader, want. […]

  5. […] France, the country of soufflés. That said, my French food intake has been remarkably poor. We eat tartiflette, crêpes, and hundreds of croque madames, but we also devour gyozas, lasagne, and slap-up English […]

  6. […] settled under my skin. My sub-conscious urges me to eat salad after a month of gorging myself (see last month’s confessions of a meat-aholic), so my mind keeps drifting to vegetables assuming that’s what I, and you dear reader, want. […]

  7. […] in a potato salad. And until the weather is warmer, embrace the potatoey comfort foods such as my recipe for tartiflette, basically a dish of cheese and bacon with some potato to make you feel a bit […]

  8. […] devour homemade pizza and cookies, the two occasions when we ate chocolate cake with berries, and tartiflette – potatoes cooked with cream, wine and bacon lardons, topped with molten Reblochon. And there […]

  9. […] France, the country of soufflés. That said, my French food intake has been remarkably poor. We eat tartiflette, crêpes, and hundreds of croque madames, but we also devour gyozas, lasagne, and slap-up English […]

  10. […] negatively associated with smell, it also means youth. Try Reblochon, a semi-soft cheese used for tartiflette, or, if you’re feeling daring, Vieux Boulogne, which was announced as the world’s […]

  11. […] when it comes to fatty, heavy, happy food and I’ve been crowing in delight about it, enjoying tartiflette, tarte tatin and charcuterie, not to mention last week, I sampled the local delicacy of cassoulet […]

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