In the northern Alps of France, east of Lyon, there is a region called the Savoy. The city of Albertville, where the 1992 winter Olympics were hosted, can be found in the Savoie region. It has a particular cuisine specific to the cold mountain conditions. Very hearty and very cheesy is the jist of it. I have 2 favorite dishes from there, the first being tartiflette, and the second being raclette. Maybe I will do a blog on raclette this winter! The original tartiflette is a version of a potato gratin really. It is a baked dish with minced bacon and carmelized onions, potatoes, cream and reblouchon cheese. The cheese is native to the savoie area and is what gives it the unique flavor and regional characteristics.
I can’t completely take credit for the idea of this recipe. Recently we went to a restaurant in Loumarin on a rainy day and they served this dish as the special. They substituted the potatoes for these little fresh ravioli that come in a sheet format, 4 sheets to a package. The ravioli dauphiné are filled with ricotta cheese and herbs. I bought the ingredients the following week and I have since made it twice. Yum! This recipe makes 2 portions that should be baked in individual sized baking dishes. My husband and I eat this as a main with nothing else. It is very rich.
Serves 2 to 4
1 Package of Fresh Ravioli (the tiniest ones you can find)
1 Large Yellow Onion
3 Tbs of butter
1 Small Package of Lardon OR 2-4 thick slices of bacon chopped into bits
10cl/4 Tbs of Whole Cream
6 Tsp of Crème Frâiche
1 Small Wheel of Reblouchon Cheese (could substitute other strong cheeses that melt nicely)
- Pre-heat Oven to 210℃ or 425℉
- Peel and slice the onion; then melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook/stir until they have a nice caramelized look; 10 minutes is usually good if you are in a hurry
- In a second pan, cook the lardon until it has a nice color, but not too crispy; drain the fat off. NOTE: my shortcut to speed up things and not use 2 pans, is to start with the lardon, drain most of the fat, then add the butter and onions
- De-glaze the pan with 2 tbs of cream right at the end
- Meanwhile, you should have a pot of boiling salted water ready for the pasta. Just as the onions are finishing up, add the pasta to the water and cook for 2-3 minutes; DO NOT DRAIN
- Distribute the onions evenly in the bottom of your individual baking pans; then using a large slotted utensil, capture the raviolis and distribute them, leaving the light starch water coating to keep them from sticking to each other
- Drizzle one tbs of cream over the pasta in each dish and dollop the 3 tsp of creme fraiche on each.
- Slice the reblouchon and add them to the top before placing them in the oven
- Bake until cheese is bubbly and brown around the edges, 10-15 mins usually
NOTE: Lardon can also be omitted from this recipe making it vegetarian. The caramelized onions have a beautiful flavor, so you don’t miss anything without the pork.
This summer I picked up a Vin et Cuisine (Food & Wine) magazine that was a bonus issue for subscribers. It has 132 summer recipes organized by main ingredient, i.e. tomatoes, eggplant, figs, etc. I have been systematically cooking recipes from it since August. For the past several weeks the farmers have been getting rid of the last of their tomato crops. My organic lady keeps telling me that this is the last of them, but then the next week she has a few more. I can never get enough tomatoes, so I buy a large sack every time. Here is another great recipe for using that tomato surplus. I was surprised at how easy and delicious this was. If you are not familiar with a Tarte Tatin, then you should know that this is a take on the traditional apple pie that is baked upside down in the pie pan. The apples, or tomatoes in this case, are placed in the buttered pie pan, then the crust is placed on top. After it’s baked, you place a plate on the top (plate and pan are sold together here…convenient) and flip the whole thing over. It’s a fabulous dessert, and this is an awesome savory version. Enjoy!
1 Puff Pastry Crust (very cold)
12-15 Small Roma Tomatoes
1 Tbs Olive Oil (for the pan)
Salt & Pepper
- Cut the tomatoes in half and gently squeeze out most of the juice and seeds
- Oil the pie pan and then place the tomatoes open side up, as tightly together as possible; leave a 1″ border around the edge
- Salt and pepper the tomatoes, then place the cold crust over them and form it around the tomatoes by pressing it around all sides to tighten up the formation underneath
- Bake at 425℉/210℃ for 20-30 mins; lower in the oven will keep the crust from burning while the tomatoes get nice and roasted.
- Once the crust is golden, then remove from the oven and place a large plate of the top of your pan to flip the pie onto the plate; this should be done in one swift movement…use caution
As the tomato season is wrapping up, I am receiving the final harvest from the cooperative and buying them in bulk for cheap at the market. These tomatoes are mostly only good for soups and sauces. So I delved into my favorite soup cookbook to see if there was something I could use for this surplus and lo and behold, I found this delicious roasted tomato soup. I put my spin on it by serving it like you would serve french onion soup. Continue reading
This summer I continued to work on some raw soup recipes. Raw soups with summer vegetables are much easier and logical than fall and winter crops. And of course, with the heat outside, it’s nice and refreshing to eat cooler foods for lunch and dinner. Out of all the summer soups, I would consider the gazpacho to be the most recognizable. There are so many recipes out there for gazpacho. I went searching for the simplest and I believe it’s the best I have ever had. Continue reading
We happen to have 4 fig trees in various locations around the property. Out of those 4 trees, there are 3 different types of figs, which represent the 3 varieties of figs grown here in Provence. Every year, I pick the figs in several different batches and make jam. It’s possibly the easiest jam you will ever make. Plus, we eat it year round in our crepes for breakfast and on a baguette for afternoon snacks. A jar never lasts longer than a year in this household, no matter how many I make. And they are nice gifts for friends as well! Continue reading
What’s so great about Risotto? You can put ANYTHING in it…well almost anything. All of the spring vegetables are inspiring me to make things green, like fava beans and sweet peas and snow peas. I use a Giada DeLaurentiis recipe for basic risotto. These fava beans can be sub’d for the sweet peas you might have on hand now as well. I am really just posting this as a reminder of things we can do with all of those yummy green items at the market now. Continue reading
If you like butter, chocolate, sugar or nutella in general or on bread, then you will love this spread. I was watching Cuisine TV the other day and Guy Martin was making 2 lovely butters. He used ‘beurre de barratte’, which means ‘churned’, to make this chocolate spread and one with lemon. I immediately made the chocolate butter for my husband. He loves everything in the spread, so it seemed to me that he would really love the combination. And as it turned out, I also loved the spread. It’s super easy to make and takes no time at all, except for you have to remember to leave the butter out for a few hours before you make it. Continue reading
This is one of two egg recipes that we did at the 1 hour atelier organized by Stéphanie Ginoux of Cuisine Évènements and taught by Chef Saucier Philippe Houy from Restaurant Christian Etienne a 1* Michelin restaurant in Avignon. Eggs can be presented in so many interesting ways, so I of course needed a new gadget after this lesson. The ‘toque oeuf’ is used to cut off just the top of the egg. It’s like magic, as it worked perfectly every time. The egg whites get blended with cheese, cream and spices, then poured back into their shells with the yolks which have been warmed in a steam bath for 15 minutes. The toasted breadstick works sort of as an edible stirring stick/spoon. Continue reading
The garden is growing so I fast I think it’s on steroids. Today I picked a head of lettuce, some arugula(roquette) and some radishes. This year is certainly a learning period for me. It’s the first time I have planted so many vegetables, most of which I know nothing about growing and harvesting. For example, I have learned that each radish seed/plant, produces 1 radish. That’s right, one plant, one radish. So to have a bunch of radishes, like I buy at the market, then I would need to plant a very large amount of seeds. I planted maybe 12 seeds. We ate 5 of them today and there are just a few more left in the dirt. We will save them for a special occasion perhaps:) Continue reading