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Tartiflette is a French dish from the Savoie and is served in the ski resorts around there as a regular item on almost every cafe/restaurant menu.
What I'm talking of here is a good meal for 3 or 4 people and the components are almost always the same:
A full Reblochon Cheese (none other), six large spuds - Maris Pipers (waxy potatoes for our US cousins), 4 large onions, a stack of Lardons or 6 chopped thick bacon rashers (I prefer smoked for this), a glass of dry French white wine (Apremont preferred) and a medium sized tub of single cream.
Don't be tempted to do this with a Brie or Camembert - been there, done that!
While you're preparing the ingredients, preheat the oven to 180 - you're going to need it to be ready when all the ingredients have been piled onto each other (in the cooking dish) in layers!
Peel the spuds and slice them once through the middle LENGTHWAYS. Then boil and salt them to taste (I'd use two cupped-palm-sized scoops in what needs to be quite a large pan). Boil them so that they reach "al dente" (cooked but still quite firm). When they're cooked to that point drain them and let them cool.
Peel the onions and chop/slice them into short but not narrow pieces - chuck em in a frying pan with some olive oil and cook without browning them until they go translucent. Then drain and put them in a side dish - you're going to come back to them.
The bacon - I use back rashers - cut the belly part (the part with the fatty streaks) away from the very meaty part and chop/slice that streaky part into small bits. Put it in the frying pan and cook slowly until the fatty bits start to look partly cooked, then take the other meaty part and chop that into bigger pieces. Throw that in the pan with the other bits that are still cooking away. When the fatty bits are starting to brown at the edges take it all off the heat and save it on one side.
Now take a Pyrex style dish - not too large.
Return to the cooled spuds and SLICE them into layers of about a quarter of an inch thick, placing them as you slice them into the dish, thereby creating a potato base to the dish. Slice them all - you need to create THREE layers of potatoes overall for this dish. Do be careful with the slicing into layers - use the back of your fingers to steady the potato - like proper chefs do :-)
When the base layer is in - add some onions distributing them widely over the over the spuds and then add some of the bacon bits over that.
Add another middle layer of potato slices.
Repeat the addition of onions and bacon on top of that.
Add the final layer of potatoes.
Now for the cheese. Get the round of Reblochon and slice it vertically across the face (not horizontally in my recipe) into about eight strips. Add that to the top of what you've built - in effect a cheese top for potato, onion and bacon layer cake! Don't even think about slicing the rind off the cheese! (Or the cheese police will come and get you).
Stick that in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes. Then remove from the oven and add the glass of French dry white wine by pouring it around the edges and letting it filter through to the base. Put it back in the oven for 5 minutes and then remove the dish once more. Turn the heat up a bit as you leave the oven.
Now it's time to add the cream. Trickle the cream (normally single, but double if you must) into the corners and along the edges of the dish, then make a hole with a teaspoon in the middle and put some cream down there too. Finally drizzle cream over the whole of the top surface of the cheese and put it back in the oven and cook until the top surface has browned.
When its all golden brown - remove the Tartiflette from the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes to cool down a bit.
That's the Tartiflette!
Out in The Alps they would serve that with a green salad and also you might be served with some dried mountain ham - which cooks when you dollop the hot 'flette on it.
The biggest obstacle with this dish is getting the potatoes right. Overcook them prior to slicing them thinly and you get mush. Don't cook them enough and they're too firm at the very end when they're being consumed.
Good lick! (yes, lick)
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