Make Ahead

Tegame alla Vernazzana

February 25, 2014
Author Notes

I enjoyed this dish in Vernazza, a small village in the Cinque Terre region of Italy's Ligurian coast. A "tegame" is a cooking vessel, so this dish's name translates to "casserole in the style of Vernazza".

That version used fresh anchovies, a fish, alas, that we just don't see in our supermarket seafood case. I have used canned oil-packed anchovies here, but it works well with soaked, salt-packed anchovies, or other oily canned fish like tuna, sardines or herring.

There is a bit of slicing, but if you have a Benriner or other mandoline-type device, it goes pretty quickly. (If not, a sharp knife will be your friend.)

This recipe calls for 1/2 cup of olive oil; this is not a typo. Serve the final dish with bread for soaking up all the delicious, tomato-rich oil that is produced during the baking time.
There is no added salt in the recipe (other than that used in the water to parcook the potatoes). I find the anchovies give enough salt to the dish, but if you use another fish, you may want to sprinkle a little salt in as you're building your layers. —Savorykitchen

  • Serves 3-6
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, cut in 1/4" slices
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (about 6 oz), sliced paper thin
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin or crushed in a press
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced rosemary
  • 2 2 oz. cans anchovy fillets
  • 2 14.5 oz cans whole tomatoes
  • freshly ground pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Place a rack in the middle position.
  2. In a pot of salted boiling water, parboil the potato slices until just tender, about 10 minutes. The slices shouldn't fall apart readily, but should be tender enough for a fork to be poked into them. Drain and set aside.
  3. Drizzle some of the olive oil into the bottom of a baking dish (I use a 10" ceramic tart pan with 1.5" sides). Layer 1/3 of the potato slices into the bottom of the pan. Layer 1/2 of the sliced onion and garlic over the potatoes. Layer the fillets from one of the cans of anchovies over the onions and garlic. Sprinkle 1/3 of the parsley and rosemary over. Tear the whole tomatoes into strips and layer about 1/3 of them and their juice over the herbs. Top all with a generous grinding of pepper and healthy glug of olive oil.
  4. Repeat the layering: another 1/3 of the potatoes, the rest of the onions and garlic, another can's worth of anchovies, another 1/3 of the herbs, another 1/3 of the torn tomatoes and juice, pepper and oil.
  5. Finish the tegame with the rest of the potatoes, herbs, and tomatoes and juice. One more generous drizzle of oil over the top. Really should look dangerously oily. Place the pan on a sheet tray and pop it into the oven for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are fully tender and the anchovies are melting. Let rest for 10 minutes or so and serve. This dish is also good at room temperature.

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