Monday, May 01, 2006

Andorra: Catalan Spinach Salad, Boiled Potato-Cabbage Slaw, and The Very Long Search

Andorra was a chore. I told my mother how impossible it was to find recipes from the tiny landlocked bit of Spain, and she agreed pleasantly and said it is equally impossible to actually get there. Obviously those few mountaineers who make it don't think to bring back recipes.

After much research, I found that a food called trinxat is popular in Andorra, so I began hunting for a trinxat recipe. Google failed me, but I found a cookbook by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán: La Cocina de los Mediterráneos: Viaje por las Cazuelas de Cataluña, Valencia y Baleares. It's in Spanish, but it had a recipe for trinxat and I remember enough Spanish from high school to pick it apart.

For kicks, I fed the recipe into Alta's Babelfish, which promptly informed me of the correct way to make Andorran trinxat:

To put to the fire two pots with two liters of water in each one.

When they boil, to scald the cabbage in one of them, soon to slip it and to put it to cook in the other pot.

When the nerves of the leaves are soft, to put in the pot potatoes cut in pieces and the salt. When the potatoes are cooked, to slip them along with cabbage and to return to put them in the same pot.

Aside, in a frying pan with a little oil, to fry the bacon strips. To take to half of ests accite and to distribute it over potatoes and of cabbage. To crush with a skimmer until obtaining a very fine paste.

In a separate frying pan, just a little bit to put of the oil of the bacon and one fourth part of trinxat (cabbage and crushed potatoes) and to make a tortilla round. To give a pair him of returns and to serve warm up it in a plate with the bacon piece raises.


Unfortunately, the trinxat involves bacon and I'm not a fan of cabbage. Nevertheless, I was prepared to fix the boiled, crushed, fried dish when serendipity stepped in: I found a delicious-looking Andorran spinach salad recipe in my favorite cookbook. Victory!

The recipe is from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I burned the nuts and raisins quite by mistake, but the burned ones actually tasted far better than the non-burned ones, so I'll be burning them from now on.

The raisins are sweet, the garlic strong, the burned nuts flavorful, the spinach soothing, and the whole thing took 3 minutes to fix. What a perfect salad.

Catalan Spinach Salad
Serves 4

2 bunches of spinach, chopped and blanched
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup pine nuts (I used slivered almonds)

Wash, chop, and blanch the spinach. Warm the oil and garlic in a pan until the garlic turns golden, then add the raisins and nuts, cooking until the raisins are plump. Place spinach in a bowl and top with the raisin/garlic/nut mixture.

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