kindkit: Two cups of green tea. (Fandomless: Green tea)
[personal profile] kindkit
Something I've cooked recently: It's been a hard week for me personally, not to mention the general state of the world, so I've been in the mood for comfort food. Midweek I had hamburgers, and yesterday I cooked a potato gattó, a dish from Naples that originated while the French ruled there (the name is borrowed from the French gâteau). It's very much like an Italian version of a cheese-and-potato pie.

I combined several different recipes and then improvised a bit, as is my wont.

Butter
About 2 cups soft, coarse breadcrumbs
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 lb yellow potatoes, well washed
About 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
Milk
1 large onion
About 3 oz strong-flavored salami, or more if it's a milder salami
8 oz mozzarella or other cheese

In a large pan, cook the breadcrumbs and the minced garlic in some butter over medium heat until the breadcrumbs are just beginning to brown and it's all fragrant. Set aside.

Peel the potatoes if you like (I didn't bother, because the potatoes I used were small and thin-skinned, but I'm sure actual Italian cooks would be horrified by that), cut them into chunks and boil until tender, then mash them with a good hunk of butter, the ricotta, and just enough milk to make them into a fairly stiff mash.

While the spuds are cooking, chop the onion into fairly small pieces and cook it in yet more butter, or olive oil if you like. When the onion is translucent and softened, add the salami, which you have cut into very small chunks no larger than 1/4 inch or about 1 centimeter. This is especially important if the salami is very firm. Cook the onion and salami together for a minute or two and set aside.

Cut the mozzarella into smallish pieces.

Butter a 9 or 10 inch springform pan if you want to be able to unmold and slice the cake, or any largeish ovenproof pan if you want to scoop it up like a casserole. Add about 1/3 of the breadcrumbs to the pan, trying to get them to adhere to the sides, though it's not vital if they don't.


When the potatoes are ready, scoop half of them into the pan and smooth them out. Add the onion and salami mixture, and then the mozzarella bits. Try to leave a border of half an inch or so that's just potatoes, especially if you want to unmold the cake. Add the rest of the potatoes, smooth the top, and then sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over.

Bake in a 400F/200C oven for about 30-40 minutes, until the cake is hot through and the breadcrumbs are browned and crisp. Let it cool for 15 minutes or so before unmolding, if you like, and serving.

This recipe makes a big cake, but leftovers can easily be reheated in the oven.

Possible variations: Some recipes call for peas to be stirred into the potatoes, but it didn't sound good to me so I didn't. Many recipes call for the cheese to be fresh mozzarella, but I have never found that fresh mozzarella is improved by cooking, so I used the firmer pizza mozzarella. This wasn't a horrible mistake, but I did find the result too stringy and not flavorful enough. Next time I think I'll use a decent fontina, or even a Gruyère or a raclette or some such. In fact, at the risk of again horrifying proper Italian cooks, the dish could be varied in lots of interesting ways just by changing the cheese and/or the salami, or by using ham instead of salami, etc.




I also made some chicken stock yesterday, via the cheat I always use when I don't have a lot of bones--I simmered the bones in a quart of decent commercial chicken broth plus enough water to cover. I also added a beef bone I had in the freezer, and it contributed a much more complex flavor.

This morning, to finally do something with the chocolate in my pantry that needed using before the summer heat fully sets in, I made some thick chocolate ganache--the kind you use for truffles--and stuck it in the freezer to await inspiration and/or cravings.


Something I have concrete plans to cook in the near future: I'm going to make a meatloaf today, continuing the comfort-food theme. I've got roughly equal parts beef and pork, and I'll give it Mediterranean flavors with some smoked paprika, some chopped olives, and some oven-candied tomatoes as well as anything else I think of.

Like the gattó, this is rather wintry cooking even though it's too warm here for me to be enthusiastic about using the oven. But there will be lovely leftovers, plus it lets me use up a lot of meat from the freezer.

Also today I intend to roast the apricots I bought on sale a few days ago. The oven again, but at least the prep will be very simple--just a buttered pan and some honey drizzled over the fruit, I think.


Something I vaguely intend to cook someday: all the Mediterranean-y summery things. I need to cut down on spending, so I expect there'll be a lot of zucchini and other cheap plentiful veg, and beans and pasta.

Date: 2017-06-04 10:42 pm (UTC)
karmageddon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] karmageddon
I often "grill" things straight on the rack under the broiler. Potentially messy, though.

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