Thursday, March 03, 2011
Tartiflette - sort of
Tartiflette is an eye popping mix of potatoes, cheese and cream flavoured with bacon and onion and garlic fried in butter. The polar opposite of low fat and not really the kind of food I make, at least not all in the same dish. Yet it was dinner Tuesday night.
I blame myself. Left a few food magazines on the kitchen table. The man found came home. Found them. He browsed, flicked through the bits he wasn't interested in, stopped to read bits and share his thoughts about new ideas and good things.
Then he came upon good cheese - a magazine produced by the Guild of Fine Food and suddenly he was all attention. Cheese is one of the great loves of his life, nothing perfects a meal for him like a squeak of cheese at the end, something fine and interesting, possibly new, possibly a known delight. He was delighted to find a serious piece about matching cheese with British beer, another of his true loves. It is something we might actually indulge in one day soon.
Then he found it. A recipe from Charles Campion. Tartiflette. The potato based treat made a hat trick of his food loves - mashed, boiled, baked, fried, chipped, salad, jacket - potatoes are his constant joy. Rarely for him, he asked me to make this for dinner. Usually he is happy to eat whatever I make, the ongoing menu of our meals is my domain. The pleasure of sharing new things and good things binds us almost daily. We have learned a lot together over the years.
How could I refuse?
Tartiflette - sort of
This dish is a paean to winter food - decadent, rich, comforting and outrageously calorific. Winter has returned to London this week with a biting northwesterly wind and a heavy pressing of grey cloud. Bitter is a good description. This is the antidote.
2 for dinner with a proper serving for lunch next day
750g waxy potatoes
150g smoked bacon, cut into 1cm strips
1 large onion, sliced finely
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper
142ml double cream
250g round pie d'Angloys or similar soft well flavoured cheese, diced
Halve the potatoes then cook in boiling salted water till just al dente. Drain.
Meanwhile cook the sliced bacon and onion in a sauté pan over a low heat till the bacon starts to rend its fat and the onion becomes translucent. This takes about 15 minutes. Add the butter and the chopped garlic and stir for a couple of minutes till you can smell the lovely smell of cooked garlic. Season.
Put half the potatoes into a casserole dish, then add all the bacon/onion/garlic mix. Tip the rest of the potatoes on top then pour in the cream. Dot the diced cheese all over then bake in the oven at gas4/180C for 25-30 minutes till it is all bubbly golden gorgeousness.
Leave to sit for a few minutes then serve, with a little salad for contrast.
Blissfully good on a cold night.
It's a 'sort of' rather than a 'real' one as traditionally it would be made with Reblochon cheese, possibly without cream or possibly with lots more, and almost always served after a day on the ski slopes. This is an adaptation for a mid week dinner for a city dweller, aghast at how long winter seems to be with us.