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What’s not to like about a combination of potatoes, smoky lardons and cheese. You don’t need huge portions, and a small serving of tartiflette, with a generous green salad, and a glass of wine (almost mandatory), makes for a very satisfying weekday supper.
A word about the ingredients:
Potatoes – You need waxy potatoes, so new potatoes, or fingerlings or any yellowish potato variety, which holds its shape is good. Avoid starchy/fluffy varieties or baking potatoes, as they will lack the right texture and flavour and won’t hold their shape.
Crème fraiche, which is a delicious French soured cream, isn’t essential, but I feel it brings the whole dish together. Normal cream can be substituted
Smoked lardons, are like bacon bits, I much prefer the smoked version as you need the strong flavour to offset the potatoes and cheese. If you can’t find lardons, used a smoked bacon and dice before using.
Reblochon is a French melting cheese, but any soft melting cheese can be substituted. It won’t look the same, and may not have a deliciously edible rind, but the dish will still work. Reblochon should be eaten with the rind, which becomes slightly crusty upon cooking. I have seen recipes where the rind is removed, pointless in my opinion (if my French friends are reading this, please share your expert views!).
There are purist versions without the garlic, and I must admit I like the little bit of garlic. There are also versions where the potatoes are sautéed before baking, but I don’t think it’s worth doing that; there’s enough and more richness in the dish. Read the notes before starting.
Boil the potatoes (don’t peel) in well-salted water until just tender to a fork, but not cooked right through. Drain well and leave to cool. (Don't overcook at this stage, as the skin will start peeling off, and the potatoes will be too mushy after baking). Small potatoes will take about 8-9 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onions, garlic and bacon until the onions are soft and both are beginning to brown. Pour in the wine, bring to a simmer, and reduce to nearly nothing. Stir in the crème fraiche or cream off the heat.
Grate in the nutmeg and check seasoning.
Cut the potatoes into thick slices. Cut the cheese in half horizontally.
Rub a flattish ovenproof dish with some butter, then cover the base with half the potatoes. Season the potatoes, and then spoon over the onion and bacon mixture.
Top with he remaining half of the potatoes and season again. Finish off with the reblochon, rind uppermost. At this point you can cover and leave this dish for a few hours in a cool place, until ready to bake.
Preheat the oven to 210C (190C fan). Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbling. (If the top isn't browned, switch the oven to grill setting at the end of the cooking period, for a few minutes to get the rind really crisp). Serve with a fresh green salad.
Let the potatoes cool before slicing, they will hold their shape and be easier to slice.
The entire dish can be assembled in advance and baked before eating.