03 October 2009

La Truffade — Auvergne-style potatoes

Now that I've cooked this and looked at the pictures, I realize it looks like an American breakfast. I mean the kind of breakfast you might make if you were out in the woods on a camping trip and cooking over a campfire. And you know everything tastes better outdoors.

That's what the Auvergne is like, I guess. It's high mountains and deep valleys. When you're there, you feel like you might be out camping somewhere, even if you are staying in a very big, nicely furnished house. It's something about the weather. Or the smell of the fresh air. The dampness. All those cows, maybe.

Potatoes, bacon, onions, and diced cheese in a pan

So yesterday I cooked truffade again. I think it's only the second time, or maybe the third, in the month since we got back from our brief trip to Saint-Chamant and the Pays de Salers. Blame SuperU: the store has had potatoes on sale for a month now.

They're nice spuds of the Agata variety, which make good fried or sauteed potatoes, and the first bag I bought was only 1.75 € for 5 kg (11 lbs). When we had gone through that bag, I went back to SuperU for something else and noticed that they had the same potatoes, same quantity, on sale for 1.00 €. I can't resist prices like that — at least not when we're talking about an excellent fresh product.

Here's another picture of the tome fraîche cheese.

I published the French recipe for La Truffade a couple of days ago — here's a link to it. The essential ingredients are thinly sliced potatoes; a good melting cheese, like Tome fraîche from Auvergne; bacon (smoked pork lardons); salt and pepper. Optional ingredients are onions and garlic. Here's how I ended up translating (adapting, really) the recipe:

La Truffade auvergnate
Serves 8

butter or vegetable oil for frying
3 lbs. potatoes
1½ lbs. cheese
½ lb. diced smoked bacon (lardons)
onions and/or garlic (optional)

In a large non-stick skillet, cook the bacon with a little bit of butter or vegetable oil until browned. If you're using onions or garlic, saute with the bacon. Remove from pan, leaving the fat, and set aside.

Cut the potatoes into thin slices and put them in the skillet with a little more butter or oil as necessary. Let them brown a little on the bottom and then cover them for a few minutes until they cook through.

Grate the cheese or cut it into little pieces. Add cheese and the cooked bacon lardons to the pan and toss or stir the potatoes around. Cover the pan again so that the cheese will melt. Let the potatoes brown on the bottom. Then turn the contents of the pan out onto a serving platter.

Serve with bread, red wine, and a green salad.

The cheese melts right into the sauteed potatoes.

Adding onion to the truffade is unconventional — but it sure is good. The famous French chef Joël Rebuchon, who specializes in potato dishes, has published a recipe for truffade in which he cooks the potatoes with garlic. I even found one recipe that includes diced tomatoes in the mixture!

I think Jack cheese or young white Cheddar would be good cheeses to make the truffade with. Instead of bacon, you could use little chunks of ham, or even chicken or turkey (especially smoked varieties). The amount of salt you need depends on the saltiness of the cheese and meat you use. Don't forget pepper.

La Truffade. Can't decide which picture I like better...

We ate sausages with our truffade yesterday. That was a little rich, probably, but then we are doing a lot of work outside right now. When Bill from NH was hear a few weeks ago, we had truffade with a stuffed tomato for lunch, and that was a good combination. Fried eggs would certainly be good alongside.

...so I'm including them both.

I guess Idaho russet potatoes would be the best U.S. variety for truffade, but I'd also have to try it with Yukon Golds or new red potatoes if I were making it over there.

Have truffade for breakfast if you want, but substitute coffee for the red wine. Then sit around the campfire and enjoy it. Don't forget to chop some wood or go on a long hike afterwards to burn off the calories.


  1. Reminds me of Tartiflette (one of my all time favorite stick to your ribs dishes) and looks fantastic!
    I'll definitely be trying this one this winter.

  2. Oh my lordy, that is so yummy looking! Wow!

  3. I'm going to build a campfire in the backyard and make truffade right now!


  4. I'm just crazy about truffade. The cheese used is the same as for aligot, but I prefer the chunks of ingredients in truffade. And tartiflette is pretty great too, as Loulou said.

  5. A woman I worked with in California took a trip to France. When she came back, she said she had eaten potatoes in a little restaurant near her hotel, just on the edge of the Jardin du Luxembourg. "I never knew potatoes could be that good," she said.

    So yes, tartiflette, gratin dauphinois, truffade, and frites. I agree.

  6. I've got to stop reading this blog before eating breakfast. Good thing my house is potato-less at the moment!

  7. I'm still getting requests to make your gratin dauphinois again (sans finger tip). Now that I have a good mandolin and the weather is starting to turn fall-like...

  8. Ken,
    La truffade you made looks so good. I love your blog because I feel like I am in France when I read it. I have many French and Italian friends so I speak different languages all week where I live in the DC area. If you are ever in DC, I would love to meet you, or maybe when I get to France next.

  9. Hi Jackie, I hope you enjoy the truffade. I'm making mine tomorrow, it turns out. And let us know when you come to France. Ken

  10. Just using your recipe...
    our "cheese lady" gave us the recipe on a postcard from the Auvergne...
    but we couldn't find it...
    so Pauline dialed up the oracle.

    We are having ours with a chicken thigh and merguez casserole I did yesterday...
    I am guessing you had the same cold, drear weather that we had today...
    needs something like this to warm the cockles...
    and we're having jam sponge pudding done in the microwave...
    with real ANGLAIS custard... thick and creamy!!!!!
    loved today's vineyard pix by the way.

  11. Thanks for letting me know about the truffade, Tim. I have to make that again soon.

  12. I don’t think any other cheese would work. It HAS to be tome fraîche for that texture, otherwise, it’s not a truffade. I mean, even using a mature tome is a big NON. Also, traditionally it is cooked in goose fat. If it’s any other cheese or cooking oil it’s just a potatoe, cheese & bacon fry.

  13. Hello CHM. It's good to hear from you again. Sometimes, depending on where you live, you have to substitute ingredients. Not many people in the U.S. would be able to find tome fraîche cheese. Why deprive them of truffade-style potatoes just for that. Actually, I think reblochon would be a good substitute for tome fraîche d'Auvergne.


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