11 November 2017

Gratin de pommes de terre aux lardons et aux trois fromages

As I said yesterday, I had three pieces of cheese I wanted to find a good use for before they got too ripe, along with a package of smoked bacon lardons and a bag of nice firm-fleshed potatoes. Not to mention a good appetite. So I made a potatoes au gratin dish that fit those ingredients and appealed to me.




I based my gratin on the recipe for Truffade auvergnate (meaning from the Auvergne region of France). I didn't have the un-aged Cantal cheese (called tomme fraîche) used in a classic truffade, but I did have a block of Mozzarella, a triangle of Munster, and a left-over piece of heart-shaped Neufchâtel (a Normandy cheese). All three fit the bill — soft, creamy, and not too strong-tasting once rinds were removed.


 Usually, a truffade — it's called that because French and Italian people thought potatoes resembled little white truffles (truffes) when they first saw them two or three centuries ago — is cooked in a covered pan on top of the stove. I decided to cook mine in the oven, but to sauté the sliced potatoes first in a frying pan, in batches, and then layer them in an oven-proof dish with cooked lardons fumés. After I cooked it, I found this recipe that pretty much describes what I had done, right down to the proportions and amounts.


I cut up the cheese into little cubes — the cheeses were too soft to grate — and just spread them over the top of the layers of partially cooked potatoes and cooked lardons. Then I put a domed lid on the pan and set it in a hot oven until all the cheese had melted and the potatoes were very tender.

For a truffade, the point is not to brown the cheese. It should be melted and creamy. But the potatoes and bacon are slightly browned so that you get that good caramelized flavor. This would be a great breakfast or brunch dish served with eggs. Try not to eat too much.

10 comments:

  1. The truffled recipe we were given by our cheese lady is identical to yours... except for one thing....the potatoes are diced.
    It is called "la Truffade de l'Aubrac" and was given to us with the 500gm block of Tome fraîche de l'Aubrac.
    And a truffade is the perfect "inner warmth" food for this time of the year!
    Love it.....

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    1. For truffled, please read truffade..... Smellchequer did its thing!

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  2. L'Aubrac and le Cantal are neighboring regions and the same cheeses are made in both (Laguiole in l'Aubrac and Cantal in... le Cantal). So the recipe for truffade is shared by the two.

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    1. Dicing or slicing are personal choices.

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  3. This looks delicious. I had never heard of truffade before you mentioned it some time ago, even though I lived in the Auvergne in the early '40s.

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    1. Do you think truffade, like tartiflette, is a relatively recent invention? I don't know. Truffade is really good, even when you don't use the normal tomme fraîche to make it. It was good with Neufchâtel cheese, of which I had twice as much as of Munster or Mozzarella.

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    2. To be honest, I have no idea. In any case it doesn't go back any further than the introduction of potatoes in the Auvergne.

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  4. Seeing cheese making and eating the results in the Auvergne sure was fun. I need to find some nice potatoes and cheese to make a truffled.

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    1. That trip to the Auvergne region and the visit to the dairy farm where Cantal cheese was being made is one of my best memories of places in France.

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