Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire


So, it’s that time again.  That Cookbook Thing II‘s next chapter is a near perfect brunch dish, maybe something for a big breakfast – Rapee Morandelle.  What?  What is a rapee?  It sounds like some kind of thin sword, maybe something guys named Desmond or Thurston use for exercise practice at the club.  What it is is a quiche with no crust, a gratin or, if you come from the corner of 10th St and 2nd Avenue, a potato kugel.

It’s also very good.  It’s a simple dish with eggs, grated potatoes, ham (thereby making it not TOO much like a potato kugel), cheese, onions and herbs – all mixed and baked together into a yummy happiness.


  • ½ cup onion, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup cooked ham, diced (3 ounces)
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped and/or chives and chervil
  • 2/3 cup Swiss cheese, coarsely grated
  • 4 tbsp whipping cream, light cream or milk
  • Pinch of pepper
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 3 medium potatoes, (about 10 ounces) peeled and coarsely grated
  • 2 tbsp butter to plus ½ tbsp butter cut in little pea sized dots

Here’s what everything looked like before I started:


  1. Cook the onions slowly in butter and oil for 5 minutes or so over low heat, until tender, but not browned.
  2. Raise the heat slightly and add the ham and let cook a moment more
  3. Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl and add the garlic, herbs, cheese, cream or milk, and seasonings. Blend in the ham & onions
  4. Peel the potatoes and grate them. Squeeze out the excess water.  Stir them into the egg mixture. Check seasoning.
  5. Heat 2 tbsp of butter in the dish. Once foaming, pour in potato and egg mixture.  Dot with last bit of butter pieces.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes in preheated oven until top is nicely browned.

So, I made a few small changes.  I didn’t feel like cooking a whole ham for a measly 3 ounces, so I used Irish bacon from a local smokehouse.  It was just as fatty and just as good as anything Julia used in 1961.  I also used a whole clove of garlic (why not?) and Ementaler cheese and I used the chives.  I cooked mine in a 12 inch pan as prescribed and found the pan too big.

The dish cooked quicker than expected and came out a bit thin.  BUT, it did taste good.  Mary from Cooking For Five made it with me and couldn’t stop eating it.  My daughter (who is 9) patted my shoulder and said I could make it again.

Also, it was a simple dish.  I think so many people are afraid to cook from Mastering The Art of French Cooking because they think everything in it is soooo complicated  This proves it’s not.  Open the book, take a look around.  Sure, you want to make something complicated – it’s there.  But it doesn’t have to be.  Simple is good, too.  That’s the Art of French COUNTRY Cooking – simple.

Thanks again to all my friends in this:

PS – Here’s the first two posts:

PPS – We have recieved honorable mention as part of Julia’s 3rd annual birthday celebration from Lisa over at Champagne Taste


August 11, 2008 - Posted by | Friends, Recipe, That Cookbook Thing II


  1. Oh Mike – yours looks great – nice crust!!

    Because it’s thin, I now have an urge to make a rapee pizza!! A dollop of tom sauce, a handful of mushies and a bit more swiss… then back in the oven for 5?

    Julia would turn in her grave 😉

    Comment by kittie | August 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. This was definitely a keeper! I love all the variations.

    Thanks for putting this altogether for us. And I’m already drooling for the poulet au porto.

    Comment by Ruth | August 12, 2008 | Reply

  3. Fantastic – I wish I had an oven safe pan so I could have turned mine out like that. Bring on the chicken!

    Comment by Sara | August 12, 2008 | Reply

  4. Great event, Mike! Thanks for being part of the Julia Child birthday celebration as well. I love this dish!

    Comment by Lisa | August 15, 2008 | Reply

  5. Looks simply delicious!! Merci

    Comment by Richard H. Rogers | February 23, 2010 | Reply

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