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French chef, by Barbara Redmond

French chef, by Barbara Redmond

During the bitter Minnesota winters, many families turn to the traditional hot dish for warm, savory comfort. During ski season in the Alps, the French create their own hot dish: Tartiflette. Filled with potatoes, bacon, and Reblochon cheese, this dish shows that French cuisine is much more than amuse-bouches and petits fours.

For families living near the Alps or Pyrénées, skiing is a central part of winter vacation. This generally takes place sometime between the second week of February and first week of March. After a day on the slopes, coming back to the rich smell of bacon and cheese is pure bliss. As the cheese melts over the potatoes, all the courbatures (aches) from the day melt away as well.

Originating from the Haute-Savoie region of France, a true Tartiflette uses the local Roblochon cheese. However, this key ingredient can be hard to find in the U.S. Many people suggest using a Gruyere, Brie, or Camembert, instead of the Roblochon. After it’s done, the combination of Roblochon, potatoes, and bacon will have come together to create a cheesy, rich, winter indulgence. To balance the weight of this dish, it is best served with a light salad and glass of Savoie or other white wine. This is truly French comfort food.

Tartiflette

Head Chef of London’s Coq d’Argent, Mickael Weiss provides his own version of this Alpine specialty. Recipe below.

Ingredients

2 1/2 lbs cooked potatoes, diced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb lardon, Canadian bacon, bacon, or Panchetta, cubed
3 cloves garlic
2 Teaspoons Thyme
1 Tablespoon crème fraîche
One bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped
1 round of Reblochon cheese (about 1 lb)

Directions

– In ovenproof skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onion slices.
– Cook on medium-high heat until onion slices are light golden.
– Add salt add pepper.
– Cut lardon into small cubes and add to pan.
– Add garlic and thyme.
– Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add potatoes.
– Add crème fraîche. Turn off heat. Stir.
– Add parsley.
– Cut the Reblochon in two halves like two halves of a hamburger bun
– Place half of the Reblochon cheese side down, on top.
– Place in 350F oven for 20 minutes.

Michelle Hum is a self-proclaimed Francophile and foodie. Michelle has been fortunate enough to visit countries on three continents and live in France during a semester abroad. In order to stay connected with many of the cultures she experienced, food has become very important to Michelle. A student at the University of Minnesota pursuing double majors in Psychology and Advertising and a minor in French, Michelle advises the digital aspects for A Woman’s Paris. Outside of school, you can find her perfecting her signature white chocolate fruit tarts and other treats.

You may also enjoy A Woman’s Paris post, La Chandeleur – Le Jour des Crêpes. As millions of elementary school children in America eagerly wait for the groundhog to come out to find his shadow, the French celebrate le Chandeleur, also known as Le Jour des Crêpes. What do waiting for a furry woodland creature and eating delicious sugar filled pancakes have in common? A recipe for crêpes is included.

Alsace Asparagus, Best in April,  by Michelle Hum who shares the first time she tried the very best white asparagus from Alsace while a student living in Montpellier, France. An unforgettable dish of asparagus dressed with a simple olive oil, balsamic, mustard vinaigrette. Recipe included for white asparagus by Alsatian Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten from Food & Wine magazine. 

French Onion Soup – a Paris meal to remember, by Michelle Hum who recalls the aroma of sweet, caramelized onions, dry wine, and rich broth carried with the steam rising from her bowl. With the first taste – serendipity. Recipe included for Julia Child’s Soupe à l’oignon (French onion soup), from her cookbook, The Way to Cook

French Hot Chocolate: Chocolat Chaud, by Barbara Redmond tells about a dazzling early 19th century French service placed on a table at the far end of this dark, yet luxurious, reception room in Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum — exhibited as though prepared and waiting for guests. Which French woman should we invite?  Including a recipe for Parisian Hot Chocolate by David Lebovitz.

Text copyright ©2012 Michelle Hum. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.
barbara@awomansparis.com

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