It was an unusual event if you were invited to dinner to my house in the first 6 months of the year and were not served tartiflette. After the first mouthful, a worrying addiction quickly took hold (though I am a man of whom addiction has an easy relationship), that resulted in me quite quickly putting on a lot more weight than normal. A dish from the Alps, this is not one for those who want to be conscious of calories, but it is cheap and remarkably tasty, and has entirely replaced potatoes dauphinoise in my kitchen.
1kg/2lb 4oz Charlotte potatoes
250g/8oz lardons/streaky bacon
1 medium to large onion
1 garlic clove
100ml/3½fl oz white wine
200ml/7fl oz double cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole Reblochon cheese (about 450g/1lb), sliced
This dish, whilst not at all complicated, can become fiddly and warrants a drink to be on hand for when you want to smash things against the wall. If one of these moments come, and it may well, take a deep breath, a deep drink and trust me when I say it’ll be worth it.
Start by par-boiling the potatoes, whole and peeled or unpeeled to taste. I prefer the taste of the skins, but it does make the slicing after cooking slightly trickier. Once they’re parboiled, leave to cool slightly. Whilst the potatoes are cooking, chop the onion and garlic and heat over a gentle heat with some butter and oil. Add the chopped lardons, and allow all to turn golden, when you add the white wine. Leave to bubble away until the liquid has reached a fairly thick consistency, roughly 5 minutes.
Slice the potatoes very fine lengthways (this is the fiddly bit, and I hugely recommend a mandolin), and layer the potatoes, onion and bacon and salt and pepper in a low sided baking dish. Pour over the cream, and top with slices of the cheese (usually available in Tesco’s Bangor; gruyere can replace it if necessary). Bake at 180C, for roughly 30 – 45 minutes until the top is golden brown and the cream is bubbling.
This is best served with roast chicken, but is equally delicious cold the next day, with a fried egg on top.