European bakeries are basically the Wild West. They’ve got the romance, the flurries of chaos and the unspoken laws of the land. There’s always the little old lady who strides in with her shmata and house shoes, brazenly skips the cue, order her things and leaves — and nobody says a thing. Foreigners look on, confused at the seeming lawlessness, but locals know better than to make a fuss. Them is the rules: local elderly take priority over everyone. Also, glory for the fast draw and no mercy for the slow at hand. You better know what you want when your turn comes.
My first brush with coca de trampó, a flatbread pizza covered in veggies and served at room temp, was during a visit to the bakery in Colonia de Sant Jordi in Mallorca, where G’s mom’s family comes from. While anxiously awaiting our turn, I eyed the glass case full of typical baked goods like ensaïmada, a coiled up wheat pastry of puffy, sweet bread. The name comes from saïm, which means pork lard in Mallorquí. And guess what: ensaïmadas are deep fried in the stuff. Likewise, the dough of coca de trampó is traditionally made with pork lard, to achieve a tender, flaky crust. Some people, non-traditionalists, make their coca dough with olive oil — count me in that group. Back to that bakery in Colonia de Sant Jordi, I recognized the typical sweet treats, but G suggested we pick up a few slices of coca to take with us on our adventures that day. I heeded the local’s advice, and when our turn came, we deftly ordered a baguette and a couple squares of coca.
White waxy bags in hand, we headed to a nearby café for a quick cortado (for me) and café solo (for him), and proceeded to play a game called “What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?” Having just gotten engaged to be marriage-d, I felt it was a very necessary, albeit masochistic, right of passage for us. As we tore off quick bites of coca de trampó, we shared our most cringe-worthy stories, mostly involving bodily functions —nothing crazy, just farts and pees. It was a real milestone in our relationship, almost as crucial as the shiny stone newly adorning my ring finger. And if you’re wondering who did what, I will NEVER tell. My moment still gives me chillies, although telling G took some of the sting away from it. Try it some time.
Last weekend, as per yoozh, we were upstate, and while I caught up on episodes of Real Housewives of Dallas and G practiced shooting his new bow-n-arrow, I was inspired to make coca de trampó. “Trampó,” by the way, is a traditional salad of mixed veggies — onions, peppers and tomatoes — that highlight the amazing produce on Mallorca. Maybe because I have come to appreciate how much my husband loves where I’m from — the Catskills, and the beautiful nature and endless possibilities for outdoor activities that go with — I wanted to give him a little taste of his home. Plus, come on, flatbread pizza covered in oily, roasted veggies. What’s not to like? Since it’s not tomato season, I used sliced brussel sprouts in place of ‘matoes, and though G initially thought it was blasphemous, it came out super tasty. And it reminded me once again why I love love cooking: because you can take flour, water, salt and olive oil, and make a damn pizza. Simple science. Delicious.
* Proud buyer and husband-gifter of Patagonia gear — because CEO Rose Marcario is fighting the good fight — suing President Trump for rolling back protections on the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah. 2 million acres of protected land will lose federal protection…
And it reminded me once again why I love love cooking: because you can take flour, water, salt and olive oil, and make a damn pizza. Simple science. Delicious.
When the coca de trampó was near finished, I cracked a couple eggs on top and let the whites harden while I gave it a final 8-minute blast in the oven. I served each slice with a generous douse of Spanish olive oil, crunchy salt and a few avocado slices, and we had ourselves a perfect Sunday brunch. If you can’t make it to a wild wild west Mallorcan bakery anytime soon, try your hand at coca de trampó.
Coca de Trampó
for the dough
300 g (3 cups) all-purpose flour
100 ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for the bowl
100 ml (1/2 cup) water, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon salt
for the topping
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
8-10 brussel sprouts, thin sliced
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Add flour to a large bowl and dig a well in the center. Pour water, olive oil and salt into the well, and use one hand (keeping one hand clean) to combine and work into a dough. If dough is flaky or crumbly, add a splash of water and continue to work until dough is elastic. To release the gluten, I use the method of folding dough onto itself and pushing down with the heel of my hand. Check out the kneading technique in this video (but note, this is pizza dough, and stickier than coca dough).
- Coat a medium bowl with oil and add your dough ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 450°F and prep your veggies.
- Add your chopped, sliced and smashed veggies to a large bowl and toss with olive oil and paprika, then salt and pepper to taste. I recommend adding a touch more salt than you’re comfortable with, but hey, you gotta’ live your life.
- On a clean, floured surface, stretch dough into a large rectangle, about 10 x 14 in. For stretching, I start from the middle and gently work my way around the edges. If dough starts to stick to your surface, sprinkle more flour and rotate dough a quarter turn. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive and transfer dough to pan. Pinch dough around the edges — this will prevent any veggie juices from running onto the pan.
- Spread your toppings on the dough, inside the raised edges.
- Place your coca on the middle oven rack and cook for 20-25 minutes or until veggies have crispy edges. Optional: about 8 minutes before finishing, crack a couple eggs on top of trampó and cook until whites are set.
- Remove coca from oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving — with more olive oil for drizzling, crunchy salt and a few slices of avocado if you really want to brunch-ify this.
- Coca is delicious when served at room temperature, so feel free to prepare ahead of time and allow it to cool. Refrigerate overnight in an airtight container.
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