by Monica Galetti, published by Quadrille 2012 (£20, hardback). Photos by Yuki Sugiura.
I am a huge, huge fan of Monica Galetti. And as frightening as she can look on Masterchef The Professionals, I must tell you that I bumped into her at a restaurant once, and she was as pretty as she was charming. But all these are minor considerations compared to the important issue of food and cooking, and her first book is a treat for those of us who savour both.
I've chosen her recipe for tartiflette, a rich French cheese, potato and bacon bake, both because it is a favourite of mine generally, and so right for the season in particular.
Tartiflette of leeks and bacon
Midweek, I love this all-in-one dinner. You can assemble it in minutes, then into the oven it goes and voilà! Dinner is served 10 minutes later. If you cannot get hold of Reblochon, use Raclette or Camembert instead.
5 leeks, trimmed
4 slices of white bread, crusts removed
1 tbsp olive oil
60g smoked bacon lardons
200g Reblochon cheese
200ml double cream
1–2 pinches of dried chilli flakes or freshly ground
Heat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Cut the leeks in half lengthways, wash thoroughly and slice thinly. Add the leek slices to a pan of boiling salted water and blanch for 1 minute, then drain thoroughly in a colander and set aside.
Cut the bread into 2cm cubes. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the lardons and sauté for a minute. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt and foam, then add the bread cubes and fry until golden. Drain the lardons and croûtons on kitchen paper.
Remove the rind from the cheese, then cut into small chunks. Tip the leeks into a large bowl and add the cheese, croûtons and lardons. Pour on the cream and toss to mix, then pour into an ovenproof dish.
Bake for about 10 minutes until the tartiflette is golden brown on top.
Sprinkle some chilli flakes or pepper over the surface and serve.
Posted by Nigella on the 3rd Jan 2013