- Potatoes thinly sliced
- Onions, sliced thinly
- Garlic, crushed
- Crème Fraiche
- White wine
- Rollright or Reblochon
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
Start by melting the butter in a deep, heavy pan. Add the onions, garlic, lardons and thyme, and cook gently. Once the onions are soft, and the lardons have released their fat, add the sliced potatoes. Stir around on a medium-gentle heat until the slices of potato take up the thyme-scented fat. Add a few glugs of dry white wine, and stir about until mostly absorbed. Spoon in the crème Fraiche, and cook on a low heat so that the potatoes begin to soften, but take care not to let them fall apart.Slice, or cube around half of the Rollright or Reblochon and stir in to melt. Season well with sea salt, and black pepper. Be generous with the black pepper. A healthy amount of good, freshly ground black pepper makes this dish.
- Lay the remaining Rollright in slices over the top of the dish, and sit in a medium oven for at least 30 minutes. Don’t try to hurry the dish, or cook took quickly, or the fat will separate and the potatoes may remain hard. It make take an hour.
- The cheese should be melted and beginning to turn golden and crisp on the edges of the dish, and the potatoes must be completely tender.
- Serve with ice cold white wine (something from the East of France being preferable), and some bitter leaves dressed in a little sherry vinegar and walnut oil.
- An alternative take on this dish, which I often make when I can’t quite be bothered, it to par-boil Pink Fir Apple, or Ratte potatoes, arrange them in a roasting dish with halved or quartered onions, sprigs of thyme and whole cloves of garlic, and to roast them together until tender. I then lay thick slices of Rollright over the top and return to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is molten, and eat with slices of air-dried ham, and a celeriac remoularde.
Tartiflette has a short history. Originating in the 70’s, in the Savoie mountains, it was a dish created by the local tourism board to draw attention to one of the region’s, and indeed, the world’s greatest cheeses. I make this dish with Rollright, my own cheese, made on King Stone Farm, at the meeting point of Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, and Gloucestershire. The make for our cheese is loosely based on the French classic, Reblochon, on which Tartiflette is based on. The cheese is lightly rind washed during ripening, but allows for native yeasts to bloom and cohabit the rind eco-system .This is a dish for cold days. It is rich and very satisfying. In the Savoie, Tartiflette could be eaten after a hard days skiing. At home, enjoy after a cold autumn or winter day outdoors. During visits to this region of France, there are two distinctly different approaches to making this dish. Either slices of the cheese are intricately layered between the slices of potatoes; or a whole, uncut cheese is placed on top of the potatoes, onions and ham, and allowed to melt into the mixture. My version follows neither method, but I think it is quite delicious.