worldly wednesday’s : andorra a trinxat recipe (potato cakes)
Andorra is an autonomous and semi-independent co principality under the joint suzerainty of France and Spain since 1278. Andorra shares closer ties with Spain with Catalan as its official language. Located high in the Pyrénées Mountains on the French-Spanish border Andorra’s climate is that of the high mountains; generally dry, cold in the winter and mild in the summer.
Naturally the food of Andorra reflects its geographical location so it isn’t surprising that one of the best known Andorran dishes, called “trinxat”, combines foods that are readily available in the Pyrenees. Potatoes and cabbage are common and could be grown locally since the climate permits. Pork is also easily available as cattle do not do well in a mountains region where grazing areas are limited.
Perhaps a fresh mountain breeze is also needed when preparing this dish. The aroma of boiling cabbage combined with frying bacon is definitely not in any danger of becoming the next best selling Yankee Candle. With windows wide open we prepared this Andorran version of “bubble and squeak”.
1 2-lb. Savoy cabbage, rinsed and outer leaves discarded
2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled
12 thick slices of bacon
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
2 ½ oz. fatback, rind removed, thinly sliced
freshly ground black pepper
Bring two pots of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Place the cabbage in one and potatoes in the other; lower the heat in the cabbage pot and simmer until very tender. Boil the potatoes until they are tender.
Drain the potatoes, set aside. Drain the cabbage in a colander; allow cooling slightly and then pulling out and discarding the core. Pat the cabbage as dry as possible.
In small batches, add the cabbage to potatoes in a food processor. Finely chop. Do not over do it. The cabbage should not be pureed. Place the mixture into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Brown the bacon in a skillet. Set aside to drain. Wipe out the skillet. Heat the oil in the skillet and then add the garlic. Cook until soft. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and add it to the cabbage mixture.
In the same skillet, heat half the fatback until fat is rendered. Add half the cabbage mixture, and flatten into a 1/2″-thick pancake. Cook over high heat until a bottom crust has formed and the trinxat slides easily. Invert a large plate over skillet, and very carefully flip trinxat over. Slide it back into skillet, browned side up. Cook until bottom is browned. Transfer to a platter.
Repeat the process beginning with the other half of the fatback and with the remaining cabbage mixture. Serve directly afterwards with the bacon.
If you have issues using fatback (as we do) please use olive oil. Not happy about losing the flavor of the fatback then a happy compromise is to us a tablespoon of bacon drippings in the pan with the olive oil. It will help give that rich flavor to the trinxat without submerging it in fatback.