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Tartiflette: Rustic Potato-and-Cheese Gratin, French-Style

Updated: Jan 26, 2022


A cheese-and-potato tartiflette is perfect for cold weather.

  • About 20 ounces of potatoes (I prefer waxy potatoes for this dish, such as Yukon Golds). Make sure they're scrubbed clean.

  • 1 shallot, finely diced, or an equivalent amount of ordinary white or yellow onion

  • A tablespoon or two of butter for sauteeing the shallot

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (see wine pairings below)

  • Salt & Pepper

  • 8 oz. reblochon or raclette cheese, sliced (you can remove the rind of the reblochon – just be sure the total weight of cheese going into the dish is 8 oz.)


1. Boil the potatoes whole, until tender. A way to test is to insert a knife halfway in and lift the potato out of the water. If the potato slides off, it’s done.




2. Drain the potatoes. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice into about quarter-inch thick rounds (peeling the potatoes is optional – I usually don’t.)


3. Fry the shallot until golden in a tablespoon or two of butter. Add the wine; reduce for a few minutes. Mix in the potato slices, salt and pepper.


4. Arrange the potatoes in a casserole dish. Top with the cheese. (If you double the recipe, layer the potatoes and cheese by first laying down half the potatoes, then half the cheese, the rest of the potatoes, then the cheese). Bake uncovered at 350 for about 15 to 20 minutes, until hot and bubbling. (If the top browns too quickly, cover it.) Serve hot.


Optional carnivore variation: A common ingredient in tartiflette is slab bacon sliced into matchsticks (you can use turkey bacon too). Figure on about a half-pound for this recipe. Fry it first, and remove when it is crispy, setting it aside for the time being. Use the bacon fat to brown the shallots instead of the butter. Mix bacon with the shallots, add the wine, reduce for a few minutes, and proceed with Step 4 of the recipe.


Comments:


This dish originates in the alpine region of Savoy, France. There is some debate about when it appeared on the food scene – some say it was a modern invention of a cheese manufacturer to increase demand, others say it was mentioned in a French cookbook hundreds of years before that.


Whatever the truth is, tartiflette is a great choice for chilly fall and winter evenings. If you’re expecting a refined gratin in which the cheese stays perfectly uniform after baking, this is not the recipe. This dish is rustic. That means the butterfat from the cheese will pool at the bottom of the dish, and mix with the wine. It’s a contrast of textures and incredible flavors.


For accompaniments, I like a fresh green salad with a good homemade vinaigrette to counter the buttery richness of the tartiflette. A crusty artisan bread is an excellent way to sop up the butter-wine liquid at the bottom. Wine pairings could include: Conundrum white (from California), California sauvignon blancs, Meursault, Alsatian pinot blanc, Fendant du Valais and other chasselas types, Pouilly sur Loire, Pouilly-Fuisse, Pouilly-Fume, Macon Village Rousette de Savoie, Müller-Thurgau, Österreicher, St. Veran. These suggestions were what I was able to glean from the internet, so feel free to experiment.


A word about the cheese: If you love brie, you will probably love reblochon. My personal preference is for raclette. (Note that raclette is both a type of cheese and a method of melting cheese in a device called a raclette grill.) Either way, it is a fantastic recipe.

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