Except for yoga, the odd run, and my love for walking and the cross trainer, I’ve never been very athletic. In fact, I dreaded gym classes in high school as much as I dreaded math. Running and general fitness, I was OK with. As long as it didn’t involve a whole lot of coordination or competitive sports. I still have nightmares about playing American football with BOYS — thank heavens I went to an all-girls school as of my sophmore year! That’s probably the reason you won’t see me headed for a ski vacation any time soon. I prefer to spend my winter break drinking wine by the fireplace in the French countryside. This, unfortunately, means I’ve missed out on ever having tasted an authentic tartiflette, a dish from the Savoie popular with the skiing/snowboarding crowds and served at restaurants around the slopes.
A serving of the dish alone probably consists of your daily caloric intake. It calls for potatoes, onions, lardons, white wine, crème fraîche and a whole Reblochon cheese. I can feel my arteries clogging just by typing this. It ain’t food for wussies, that’s for sure. Still, I really wanted to make something similar, albeit less substantial.
I replaced the Reblochon with a mere 80 grams of aged Dutch Gouda and even added some extra vegetables. I know these tweaks may make some toes curl, but by no means am I claiming this to be an authentic tartiflette. Call it a potato gratin if you wish. What I can promise you is that it’s ridiculously good with a green salad and a chilled glass of white wine. Snow is optional. Plate licking allowed.
Tartiflette my way (or potato gratin, if you wish)
- 750g ratte potatoes
- 200g lardons
- 1 leek, sliced
- 1 small onion, halved and finely sliced
- 150g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
- 80g shredded aged Gouda
- 120ml dry white wine
- 1 tbsp crème fraîche
- freshly-cracked pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C and butter a 27 x 20cm oval dish. Peel the potatoes and boil them until half cooked. In the meantime, fry your lardons in a dry frying pan (in their own fat). Add in the rest of the vegetables and the thyme after about 5 minutes and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Drain your potatoes and cut them into medium slices.To assemble the dish, place half of the lardons & veg mix into the dish, top with a layer of potatoes and a layer of cheese, and repeat so that you end with cheese. Pour the wine over the dish, top with the crème fraîche and finish with a grating of pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the potatoes are fully cooked and the dish is bubbling. Serve with a green salad.