jerusalem artichoke tartiflette

several years have passed since i made tartiflette, in response to a friend’s request for a meal featuring “meat, potatoes and cheese” – my feelings then were that it was too rich and too much about the potatoes, which are not a favourite of mine.

so, when i saw a nigel slater recipe which substitutes jerusalem artichokes for some of the potatoes i decided to give it another try.  the result was really good – the jersualem artichokes have a lighter texture and a brighter flavour than the potatoes which helps balance the richness of the rest of the dish, which comes from slow-cooked red onions, pancetta and of course an abundance of reblochon cheese. the use of crème fraiche as a topping – the cheese is tucked away so it is able to melt completely – was also a nice touch.

this is, i think, perfect food for a freezing day, when you want something that will fill you up and keep you warm and content for hours after you finish eating. despite this, i think a salad is probably the best accompaniment, perhpas soemthing bitter involving chicory or just a mix of green leaves.

nigel slater’s artichoke tartiflette (serves 4)

600g floury potatoes

400g jerusalem artichokes

250g smoked lardons or pancetta

a little olive oil

2 sliced red onions

300ml crème fraîche

350g reblochon

a little parmesan (optional)

peel the potatoes and artichokes then steam or boil them in deep, salted water until tender. they take roughly the same time, so you can cook them together. drain and cut each one into thick slices. don't worry if they crumble a little. cut the pancetta into short, thick pieces. heat the oven to 180c/gas mark 4.

warm the olive oil in a shallow pan, add the lardons or pancetta and cook over a moderate heat with the occasional stir, until the fat is golden. transfer the pancetta to a plate, leaving behind the oil and fat. peel the onions, then slice thickly. add them to the oil and pancetta fat and cook for 10 minutes, until pale gold and soft.

put the sliced potatoes and artichokes in the pan with the softened onions, and continue cooking for 3 or 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until they have coloured lightly here and there. stir in the cooked pancetta.

cut the reblochon into thick slices. spoon a layer of the potato, onion and bacon into a dish, add a few slices of reblochon then more potato mixture. finish with spoonfuls of the crème fraîche and, if you wish, a fine grating of parmesan. bake the tartiflette for about 40 minutes until bubbling.