Well, Christmas may be complete, but the festivities are far from over: the new year is just around the corner. As we stare down the barrel of the end of the decade, we’re not quite ready to give up the cheese board, the doorstep-sized leftover sandwiches, or remove our hand from the Quality Street box. But although the food might be the same post-Christmas, the tone of our eating has changed slightly. Christmas cooking (and eating!) can turn into a logistical marathon: juggling pans and hob space, reconciling wildly different cooking temperatures for items that need to be in the oven at the same time, catering to a raft of traditions and preferences, all of which need to be satisfied in this single, momentous meal. Preparing Christmas lunch can feel like a maths GCSE problem.
So, having survived Christmas broadly unscathed, it’s no wonder that we want the indulgence without the faff. Well, tartiflette delivers that, and in spades. Tartiflette must be the ultimate indulgence: little waxy potatoes and onions and streaky bacon cooked with butter and white wine and cream, and then baked with an entire reblochon until bubbling and gooey. It’s a perfect dish for New Year’s Eve: one that screams special occasion, one that should be shared with friends. It is richer than Midas and cheesier than Cliff Richard.
Tartiflette tastes like a dish that is as old as the mountains in the Savoie from which reblochon hails, and, to be fair, its inspiration is found in a properly traditional recipe called péla. But the origins of the modern version are actually – delightfully – pedestrian. It was, along with the hummingbird cake, a marketing ploy: the Union Interprofessional Reblochon developed the recipe in the 1980’s to promote the sales of reblochon, and printed it on the back of the cheese boxes. It clearly worked: reblochon is now the cheese of choice for tartiflette and tartiflette is probably better known than it’s fire-cooked cousin, péla.
For me, there’s only one way to eat this: with a simple green salad, dressed with a sharp, mustardy vinaigrette, alongside a glass of punchy white wine.
Makes: 8 servings
Takes: 15 minutes
Bakes: 30 minutes
1.2 kg small, waxy potatoes
200g smoked, streaky bacon
2 garlic cloves, diced finely
150ml white wine
150ml double cream
450g whole Reblochon, cut into strips
- Heat the oven to 200°C. Boil the potatoes until tender and, when cool enough to touch, cut into slices about a third of an inch thick.
- Cut the bacon into one inch pieces, and place in a cold, dry pan. Place over a medium heat and cook until the bacon is golden at the edges and beginning to crisp. Add the butter to the pan, along with the shallots, reduce the heat a little, and fry until soft and just beginning to colour. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and allow the white wine to bubble down until reduced by about half.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cream to the pan. Taste and adjust the seasoning, but go gently, as the bacon will be salty. Stir the creamy bacon through the potato slices, and spoon half into an oven-safe dish that you will serve the tartiflette in. Place half of the strips of reblochon in a layer across the creamy potatoes, and then spoon the other half of the potato mixture on top of the cheese. Top with the rest of the reblochon and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Switch from the oven to a medium-high grill and, just before serving, grill the dish for five minutes until it bubbles and begins to take on colour. Eat immediately.