You know when you're sad but you don't really know why? I am sometimes. I just wake up, not particularly happy – sad, you might say – but I have absolutely no inkling why. I don't know whether this is a common phenomenon, or whether I'm just strange, but we all have days which you can only describe as one of those. And when I have one of those, there is only one thing that can properly comfort me. Comfort food. It's pretty self-explanatory, really; eating comfort food for comfort. When I say comfort food, I do mean something easy to make, something simple. Something I don't have to spend many hours making, something that won't challenge me. I don't remember who it was, but one food blogger defined comfort food as a ''culinary equivalent of a hug'', which pretty much sums it up. This tartiflette here gave me a big hug, so to speak.
Tartiflette is native to Rhône-Alpes, a gigantic region bordering Italy and Switzerland and home to France's gastronomical capital, Lyon. From my research I've concluded that they're big on potatoes, cream, onions and cheese, or mixtures thereof, plus sausages, naturally, like many regions. This has resulted in many lovely dishes that have even become common here in Norway, like the gratin dauphinois (or fløytegratinerte potetar). I won't pretend I've tried a whole lot of Rhône-Alpes food, but I did go to a restaurant in Paris specialising in the Savoy cuisine, where I happily devoured some raclette (again, potatoes and cheese!). They also make some delicious fondue, but I've always found the gratin dauphinois to be their best dish.
That was until I tried this tartiflette. It was perfect for my young Norwegian palette. Lovely cheese melted on crispy potatoes, flavoured with pork and spiced with thyme; together forming a warm and absolutely delicious ensemble. My stomach went to heaven. I hope yours does as well.
TartifletteRecipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller
50 ml olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
100 g. lightly smoked bacon cut into matchsticks
125 ml dry white wine
6 waxy potatoes, such as desiree, cut into small cubes (leaving skin on)
100 ml pouring cream
250 g. Reblochon or any other washed-rind cheese
Fresh thyme, for decoration (optional)
1.Preheat oven to 180°C. Heat oil in large deep-sided frying pan, add onion and bacon and cook over low heat until onion is soft (5-10 minutes), add wine and cook until evaporated (2-3 minutes). Add potato and cook until tender (10-15 minutes), then season to taste. Add cream, cook for 1 minute and remove from heat.
2.Lay half the potato mixture in an 8 cup-capacity casserole or two 4 cup-capacity baking dishes, scatter over half the cheese, then repeat with remaining potato mixture and cheese. Bake until dish is golden and bubbling and potato is tender (30-45 minutes). Serve immediately with plenty of crusty bread.