Tartiflette

I went skiing a few weeks ago in Tignes with a bunch of friends and my old flatmate Seil and I were in charge of cooking. We did some absolute feasts but the one that went down an absolute treat was tartiflette.

This is the ski crew in our chalet:

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(L-R we’ve got Kieran, Micky, Tom, Lizzie, then Seil who is hiding behind Will)

And this is me skiing uphill

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This is the tartiflette we made which now that I look at the picture, looks rather odd, but I can assure you that it was absolutely superb.

So last night we made tartiflette again with all the people from the ski trip, because that’s what you do on lovely hot summer nights – sit inside eating hot cheese and potatoes. Reblochon, it turns out, is quite hard to track down,  but Waitrose will order it in for you and you can pick it up from your local branch. I’m sure all the other supermarkets would do that too… apart from Tesco, who would almost certainly NEVER do that because they don’t care enough.

We consulted Felicity Cloake’s How to make the perfect… first, and she said don’t put mustard in because it will overpower the cheese so we took her advice, and it was cracking. The measurements here are quite loose because really, it doesn’t need to be precise. With the rough measurements below we served 8 quite small portions – but it’s so rich that it’s best to do that with a massive pimped up salad too, otherwise you’ll be in a cheese coma. A cheese coma looks like this:

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Recipe:

Loads of potatoes, peeled (probably 1-1.5kg)

3 reblochon wheels (or 5-6 of the half wheels that they sell in supermarkets normally)

2 packets of bacon (10 rashers in each)

Loads of butter (half a pack, probably)

2 x 300ml pots of creme fraiche

A garlic clove

2 white onions

Large splash of white wine

An enormous green mixed salad. We pimped ours with toasted seeds, walnuts and a dressing of mustard, olive oil, lemon juice and agave syrup.

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  1. Fry up the onions in some olive oil, gently over a low-medium heat, until they are softened. Add a large splash of white wine – a good long glug, probably about half a glass or a small nutella-glass-ish-size-full. Bubble that down till it’s all nearly gone.

  2. Chop the bacon into little lardons, then in a separate pan, fry it up in olive oil until crispy, then add it into the onion pan. Don’t wash the bacon pan up yet as you can use it for the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 200C.

  3. Chop the potatoes into cubes of about 1.5cm x 1.5cm. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add lots of salt to it, then add the cubed potatoes. Parboil them for about 8-10 minutes; they should be just cooked.

  4. Then drain the potatoes in a colander. Add a massive nob of butter to the bacon pan, melt it down then add the potatoes and toss them around in the butter then leave them sizzling away in the pan so that they form a delicious crispy crust – about 3-4 minutes, then you can start tossing them around, adding more butter if you think it needs it (which it almost certainly does), leaving them to form crusts then tossing again etc… until they’re all brown and crispy and look like tasty little roasties.

  5. Add the creme fraiche to the bacon and onion mixture, stir it in, season it with some freshly grated nutmeg, maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bubble it down a bit so that all the flavours seep into each other and it thickens a bit.

  6. It’s very important to drink lots of wine before, during and after your tartiflette supper because otherwise the cheese will solidify in your tummy, so make sure you’re a well-doused chef.

  7. Cut the cheese in half horizontally then into half-moon shapes. At one point, Seil and I thought we’d have a restaurant called ‘Foods that are shaped like the moon’ (crepes, eggs, cheese wheels) but it hasn’t happened yet. Still hopeful, though.

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  1. Peel the garlic clove, cut it in half then rub it all over the sides and base of your baking dish. I’d use one like this because it looks so lovely on the table, but do use any large baking dish that you have. Metal, enamel, ceramic – they all work very well.

  2. Stir the cream mix into the potatoes. You’re now ready to assemble…

  3. Put half the potato and cream mixture in the bottom of the dish. Then spread out the reblochons with the rind side up, saving half of the cheese to go on the top of the dish.

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  1. Put the rest of the potato and cream mix into the dish, then top with the remaining reblochon, skin side up so that it goes deliciously crispy.

  2. Put it in the preheated oven, set the timer for 20 minutes and have some more wine.

  3. Check it after 20 mins, it might need to be turned round and put in again for another 10 minutes until it’s really golden and crisped up. Serve immediately with salad with a nice tangy dressing on it to cut through the cheese, and of course bucketloads of wine.

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(Clockwise starting with the big face in the bottom left that’s Lizzie, me, Andreas, Micky, Will, Seil, Tom and part of Kieran. Sorry for the blurriness – maybe a little too much wine after all)

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