Tuesday 22 January 2013

Fondue without the Fuss

I am meant to be on a diet after the Christmas excesses but it is cold and that calls for warming, yummy food with lots of cheese and calories. What better than a traditional recipe from the Ski slopes of Savoie in the French Alps. After all, I have just been to my "Ski-fit" class at the gym, so that is practically like a days skiing (even though it was only 30 minutes and indoors) so I probably deserve some serious ski fodder. Most "mountain" recipes seem to incorporate mountain cheese. For Tartiflette the cheese is traditionally Roublechon which originates from Haute Savoie, whereas it is usually Swiss mountain cheeses such as Gruyere, Emmental and Raclette which make an appearance, namely in the famous Fondue and slightly less know "Raclette". 

Fondue made a big resurgence in the 70's when I was a child and I don't think there was a self-respecting family in Britain who could not admit to owning a Fondue set, usually hidden away on some top shelf. It was synonymous with continental sophistication but in reality was nothing more than a nasty, stale bit of bread stuck in some sickly, molten cheese, usually with too much booze in it. Raclette is a similarly disgusting - lots of equipment very little enjoyment. 

Tartiflette, on the other-hand is a thing of beauty. Like Raclette it is traditionally served with Charcuterie, gherkins and pickled silver-skin onions, but personally a plain, green salad with a mustardy vinaigrette is a much more delicious accompaniment and maybe goes a little way in excusing all those other calories.

1.3kg (3lb) waxy potatoes, such as Charlotte, skins on
1 tbsp olive oil
250g (9oz) chunky bacon lardons
2 onion, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons Creme Fraiche
1 Reblochon, about 350g (12oz)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthways. Heat oil in a sauté pan and cook the lardons over a medium heat until crispy and golden brown. Turn down the heat, add the onion and cook until soft and beginning to colour. Throw in the garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes. Add this to the potatoes and gently combine. Finally stir in the Crème 
Fraîche. Give one final stir and tip the whole lot into a oven-proof dish.

Slice the Reblochon and lay on top of the potato. Bake in an oven, preheated to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5, for 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. I can't possibly agree with you, because I adore fondue and raclette! But this looks really lovely too.


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