What's not to like about Tartiflette - potatoes nestled in bacon bits, swimming in a creamy, cheesy white wine sauce?? Move over raclette and fondue!
This recipe lands somewhere between Potatoes au Gratin and fondue! I warn you it is rich- so plan to serve it on a cold, stormy winter night or after a day of hiking or skiing. (It is actually famous as an apres ski dish in the Alps!)
I don't know how Tartiflette escaped my attention all these years but I will be making up for lost time now!
The French sure know how to take a few ordinary ingredients and turn them in to something extraordinary! Or should is say 'extraordinaire!'
I am a big fan of Swiss Raclette- the nutty Swiss cheese you melt over baby potatoes and serve with sour pearl onions and cornichons.
Well - right next door in the French Alps they have their own variation on a theme but instead of each person melting their cheese this is a make ahead casserole amped up with cream and white wine.
Traditional Tartiflette (which comes from the old Savoie word for potatoes) uses Reblochon cheese. It is a signature cheese but - it is made from raw milk. Raw milk products are not allowed to be sold in the USA at all. In Canada they have to be aged at least 60 days.
All this to say that 'malhereusement'... it will not be easy to source authentic Reblochon cheese unless you are in a large Canadian or European center. In Canada your chances are probably best in Quebec.
BUT.. having said that- you can easily substitute Brie or Camembert or any soft, creamy cheese with a soft, edible rind. Some of the fancier Brie type cheeses can be quite nutty and flavourful. A Champfleury would make a worthy substitute as well.
Wine Pairing for Tartiflette
Tartiflette has become synonymous with French Alps après-ski, traditionally served with Savoie white wines. Outside of France the typical grapes of Savoie- Jacquère, Altesse, Roussanne and Chasselas may not be readily available.
Roussanne and Marsanne are often blended together. I happened to have a 100% Marsanne on hand - Paul Mas Single Vineyard Réserve Marsanne 2019 VINTAGES#: 462457 $13.95. Its round, soft, ripe fruitiness was a nice complement to the dish.
From Savoie, the LCBO carries (at the time of this writing)
Domaine de l'Idylle Anne de Chypre Roussette de Savoie 2018 VINTAGES#: 18802 $21.95 Savoie, France, which is the Altesse grape with spicy pear and melon notes. (Roger Voss gave it a 90!)
Coteaux & Cimes Savoie Jacquère 20207 VINTAGES#: 21263 $14.95 Savoie, France is also available at some LCBO outlets. Expect light, crisp, citrusy and floral notes.
Red aficionados can look for a Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
- 2 ½ lbs Yukon gold potatoes peeled and cut into ½" dice ( about 8-10 potatoes depending on size)
- 8 oz bacon diced or substitute pancetta
- 3 tablespoon butter
- 2 yellow onions diced finely
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 clove garlic cut vertically in half
- ½ cup crème fraîche or substitute full fat sour cream
- 8 oz Reblochon cheese or substitute nutty brie or camembert with the rind
- fresh ground black pepper, sour pickled onions and/or cornichon for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Heat large pot of water to boiling. When at a full boil add the diced potatoes and parboil 5-7 minutes. (Or you could steam them for 5-7 minutes). Drain and set aside. (Can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.)
- In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat until it renders its fat and edges start to crisp, You are not looking to fully cook the bacon bits. (If you wan to lighten the dish somewhat you can drain off most of the bacon fat at this point).
- Add the onions to the pan and cook 5-7 minutes until they are translucent. Add the butter and then the diced potatoes and cook another 5-7 minutes till potatoes begin to soften. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the wine and and cook another 5 minutes or so til wine is absorbed.
- Remove skillet from the heat and stir in the crème fraîche.
- Leave the rind on the cheese and chop in to ½" cubes.
- Rub the inside of a 9 X 13" oven proof baking dish with the cut garlic. Add half the potato mixture to the casserole, sprinkle half the cheese evenly around, top with the remaining potato mixture and sprinkle the last of the cheese evenly over the top.
- Bake ucovered 20-30 minutes until potatoes are tender, cheese is fully melted and top is beginning to brown.
- Serve with fresh ground pepper, pickled onions and cornichons