Patate Douce, Lard, Oignon Rouge

Patate Douce, Lard, Oignon Rouge Orange-hued mashed with melted cheese and bacon actually designed as suitable for babies and young children, but great for big kids with bangers and a hearty Côtes-du-Rhône.

(for kids from one to 92!)

from Nature Bébés, by Alain Ducasse (Collection Livres de Chef, 2012) feeds one greedy bébé – multiply by three for two adult portions


  • 150g sweet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
  • ¼ (about 20g) red onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 20g slice of lean bacon or pancetta
  • 10g slice Reblochon, Raclette or Emmental cheese, rind removed


Steam the onion and potato together for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Put them in a bowl, and crush them with a fork. Keep warm. (Note that the steaming process yields a tasty, fluffy, versatile and, moreover, fat-free mash which can be enhanced as you wish. I added freshly ground black pepper: a pinch of chilli or smoked paprika would make a different statement).

Heat a non-stick pan until very hot and add the bacon. Cook on both sides until crisp. Remove, drain on kitchen paper and when cool enough, chop finely and add to the potato and onion mixture. Spread in a flameproof gratin dish and top with the cheese, in one piece. (Having grown my teeth long ago, and just about having some of them left, I admit to using chunky lardons here and you could use diced chorizo for that matter).

Heat the grill without its metal grid. Put the gratin dish in the grill pan and cook until the cheese has melted, or give it ten minutes in a hot oven.

Oh, and do make sure it's cooled down a bit before doing the 'Open The Tunnel, Here Comes The Train' routine. However old you are.

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