The Savoie region of France (seen on the map in red) is credited with the creation of tartiflette. Traditionally, this dish is made by building layers of sliced potatoes and sandwiching bacon lardons between. This is finished by covering the whole thing with white wine and an entire wheel of locally made reblochon cheese on top. How could this possibly be bad for you?
Reblochon (also from Savoie) is a soft cheese that is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Given the susceptibility of raw milk and the possibility of pathogens hitching a ride across the ocean, the US government does not allow this (or any unpasteurized cheese aged less than 60 days) to be imported. However, those crafty French refuse to let one little customs blockade stop them. Fromage de Savoie is virtually the same as reblochon except it’s made from pasteurized milk. However, even this may be very difficult to find, so substitute your favorite soft cheese like brie or camembert. If you have a Whole Foods near you, head to their cheese counter. The selection is amazing and their staff is extremely helpful.
I have taken the liberty to make several other substitutions from my French ancestors. I’ve substituted the lardons with smoked salmon and brie for the reblochon. I’ve also added gruyere for its nutty flavor. As you read through the recipe, you will notice that salt plays no part of this dish as the salmon and cheese bring all the seasoning you could ever need.
Ingredients (Serves 8 Appetizers; 4 entrees)
- 5 – 6 medium Yukon gold potatoes
- 8 oz smoked salmon
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1/4 lb brie (substitute camembert if you prefer)
- 1/4 lb Gruyère
- 1/3 c dry white wine
1. Boil the potatoes with their skins on in a large pot of water. This will ensure that the outside does not overcook and lose its shape. When the potatoes can be pierced easily, but still put up some resistance, they are done. This should take about 30 minutes.
2. While the potatoes are cooling, slice the onion thin and add to a saute pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat (a 7 on the dial). Saute until caramelized.
3. When the potatoes have cooled and can be handled easily, remove their skins. If you rub your thumb over the skin, it should remove easily. Use a spoon to remove any black spots. Slice the potatoes evenly into 1/4″ slices. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
4. Lightly butter a glass baking dish. In the dish, arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom, overlapping the potatoes. Top this with the onions and then the smoked salmon pieces on top.
Note: When cooked, smoked salmon brings a more subtle note to the dish than bacon would. It’s also a hundred times healthier.
5. Arrange a layer of potatoes on top of the salmon. Then layer the slices of gruyère over the potatoes. You do not want to completely cover everything as we want to leave room for the brie to melt into the potatoes. Pour the wine on top of the potato slices.
6. Top this with hunks of brie. My preference if to have the white rind facing up. This will allow the creamy brie to melt throughout the dish.
7. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese has melted. Turn the heat up to 425 degrees and remove the aluminum foil. Cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the top has browned.
8. This dish can be made as an appetizer or served with a crunchy salad for an entree.
A Savoie region dish deserves a Savioe region wine. In the French section of your wine store, look for bottles marked “Vin de Savoie.” Two bottles I can recommend are:
2009 Domaine Eugene Carrel Vin de Savoie Jongieux.
2009 Chignin de Savoie Domaine G. Belioz.
If your wine store has a limited supply of Savoie region wine, pair this dish with a Sauvignon Blanc.