I made this a few weeks ago to accompany my ratatouille. In case you’re not up to snuff with your French, truffade is basically a potato pancake, French style. It’s associated with the region of Auvergne, one of the least populated areas of the country but also home to Vichy France, a rather infamous state and subject matter during World War II (for more of a history lesson on it click here.)
While my pancake did not come out nearly as put together as the one in the cookbook’s photograph, it still tasted delicious. My recipe called to cook the potatoes in either lard or vegetable oil, I went with the latter. Although, one recipe I saw had you cooking the potatoes in goose fat. Now that is an ingredient I would have not the fainest idea on where to procure here in Pittsburgh; Paris, it’s not…
I made this dish on a pleasantly warm August evening although I can see it being the ideal dish for a cold winter’s night. I will definitely need to make it again at some point once the weather has changed for good.
La Truffade (Potato Cake with Cheese and Bacon)
recipe courtesy of The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan
5-ounce piece lean bacon, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
2 pounds baking potatoes, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
8 ounces Cantal or Gruyere cheese, diced or cut into thin, narrow strips
10-inch nonstick frying pan
Heat the bacon in the frying pan over medium heat until the fat runs, 2 to 3 minutes. Do not let them brown. Remove them with a draining spoon and set aside. Melt the lard in the pan, add the potatoes, and sprinkle them with pepper. The bacon may contribute enough salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and continue to cook, uncovered, over low heat, tossing or stirring often, until the potatoes are tender and browned, 20-25 minutes. Don’t worry if some of them are crushed, as they will help hold the mixture in a cake.
Stir in the cheese, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Press down on the potatoes to level them in the pan. Turn the heat to high and let them cook without stirring until the bacon is browned, 3-5 minutes. Press on the cake occasionally to hold it together. When done, it should be brown around the edges and starting to pull from the sides of the pan. Take the pan off the heat, run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake, and turn it out onto a warmed plate. Serve hot.