Melted cheese and crunchy golden potatoes, baked in a thyme-flavoured sauce. What’s not to love on a cold, crisp day? Think of it as a tartiflette à la Hollandaise. It is a lighter version of that Alpine, reblochon feast. Serving it with a Hollandaise sauce would be gilding the lily: the name refers to the fact that this version is made with Dutch Gouda. I use about half the weight in cheese of a traditional tartiflette, but it is still a rich, dairy-heavy experience. And that is for a special reason. For the four weeks running up to Easter, I plan to go vegan with a vengeance, posting a vegan recipe every day from Friday 26 February until Good Friday on 25 March. Could you go vegan for a month?
cheese and potato melt
1 kg waxy potatoes
250 gr quality Gouda
1 large onion
125 ml creme fraiche
150 ml white wine
1 clove of garlic
30 gr butter
pinch of thyme
salt and pepper
Microwave the potatoes until just cooked through. (Make sure you prick the skins beforehand!) Or you can boil them.
Meanwhile soften the onion in half the butter in a small frying pan over a low heat. After about 8 minutes, add the wine. Turn up the heat and allow to evaporate to about a third. Turn off the heat and stir the creme fraiche into the still hot mixture. Season with thyme and salt and pepper
When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skins, or leave half of them with the skins on. Chop the potatoes roughly and fry in the remaining butter until golden and crusty. Season well.
Now put half the potatoes in an ovenproof dish. Slice the cheese thinly and put half over the potatoes, followed by the sauce. Add the remaining potatoes and top with the rest of the cheese.
Bake for about 15 minutes at 200 degrees celsius until the cheese is melted.
Serve with some bitter salad leaves dressed with a tangy vinagrette. Pickled gherkins would taste great on the side. And I recommend drinking tea with it, along with a glass of that white wine.