A speciality of northern French mining country patacons are sliced potatoes, onions, garlic, thyme and bay cooked under a special ceramic cloche. It’s a dish known the ‘Proust Madeleines of the miners’.
Every family had a thick bottomed frying pan and a special three handled cloche (which they still sell in Douai). The ingredients (without any fat) would slowly steam on low heat for an hour and a half, with the tastiest potatoes crispy and brown on the bottom. Ham or other meat was sometimes added.
Image by la cocotte