The ultimate winter indulgence
I almost feel embarrassed to call this a recipe—it’s three key ingredients and an idea: pancetta, new potatoes and one of the greats of the seasonal cheese world, vacherin mont d’Or. This rich cheese wrapped in spruce bark has an amazing flavour and when baked, yields an instant fondue.
Wrapping potatoes in pancetta is inspired, and when combined with the warm runny cheese, it’s just divine. As Leonardo da Vinci is often credited as saying: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
1 x 500g vacherin cheese, room temperature
600g small new potatoes (preferably double bite size)
300g sliced pancetta
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
30ml of dry white wine (drink the rest with the cheese)
Leave the cheese at room temperature for 2 hours.
Wet the box of the cheese and the lid. Splash the skin of the cheese with the white wine, lay on a sprig of thyme and poke in a few pieces of rosemary, then double wrap in foil.
Cook the new potatoes in salted water until just tender, drain, allow to cool, and wrap in sliced pancetta.
Place the cheese on a tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 15 mins. At the same time, place the pancetta-wrapped new potatoes (join side down) in a non-stick ovenproof pan with a sprig of thyme and bake in the oven at the same time as the cheese for 20 mins, turning the potatoes half way through cooking. They should be even-coloured and crispy.
Molten cheese certainly smarts a bit on the roof of the mouth, so allow the cheese and potatoes to cool slightly for 5 mins once they are cooked.
Remove the herbs, break a hole in the skin of the cheese and dip the potatoes in. Absolutely delicious.
Recipe: Hayden Groves