The Whole Truffade
I don't know, sometimes I am just in the mood for a generous boost of carbohydrate. One of my favourite dishes to satisfy this urge is Truffade, a traditional French dish from the Auvergne region.
In fact, the inhabitants of the Auvergne have a saying:
'If you can't afford Truffles you indulge in Truffade'.
The Auvergne is the rural heart of France made up of mountains, plateaus, lakes, national parks and cows (yes, everywhere you look) and producer of several fine quality cheeses. One of these is Cantal which is one of the primary ingredients in Truffade (although sometimes St. Nectaire or even Gruyere can be used). The other main ingredient is potato, sliced a la dauphinoise and combined with the cheese to create a simple but very tasty and filling dish. Traditionally eaten with a green salad and cured meats and served directly form the pan this is a staple dish of most restaurants in the Auvergne, quick and easy to prepare, washed down with half a carafe of vin rouge. The type of cheese used will affect the taste so check with the restaurant first in case you prefer one type over another.
It is warming and filling; just what you need after a hard mornings skiing down the side of the Sancy Mountains. Believe me you will need an afternoons skiing to burn all the calories from you lunchtime repast.
Now, I am no great chef but this dish is well within my compass (along with Jumbalaya and Chilli Con Carne) and does not require a great deal of preparation (15 mins).
To serve 4 people you will need:
1,5 kg potatoes (waxy variety such as Cara or Charlotte)*, thinly sliced 30g Duck fat (traditional - use lard or vegetable oil if not available) Garlic, finely chopped 400g Cantal , St. Nectaire or Gruyere if preferred, sliced Salt & pepper 10 inch non-stick frying pan
* If you are unsure of which variety you have mix 1 part salt to 11 parts water in a measuring jug. Add the potato. A waxy potato will float (a floury potato will sink).
- Melt the fat in the pan and add the chopped garlic. Fry for 1-2 minutes and then add the sliced potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Reduce heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid and cook for a further 20-25 minutes, stirring and tossing until the potatoes are tender and are starting to brown.
- Stir in the cheese and continue to cook on high until the base is browned - 3-4 minutes. Push down on the mixture occasionally to hold it together.
Serve with cured meats and green salad and a carafe (or two) of full bodied red wine.
Some recipes include sliced bacon or 'lardons' (about 150g) which you can fry along with the garlic and remove and add back with the cheese. You may also like to add chopped onions with the garlic.
Such simplicity, but what great reward! A treat for those of you who like your food rustic and hearty.
Mary Smith has lived in the Auvergne for 4 years and would love you to come and discover this hidden gem in the heart of France for yourself. Mary runs a holiday lettings agency, Auvergne France Vacances, providing a large choice of comfortable, reasonably priced accommodation. Come and discover the Auvergne for yourselves at http://www.auvergnefrancevacances.com