Papas Italian Potato PepperĀ Frittata

May  2, 2016
0 Ratings
Photo by Lorraine Fina Stevenski
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

My Grandfather's yard was his sanctuary. Next to his garden, he built an enclosed porch with big windows he could open and close according to the season. He had a small stove in the back of his porch where he often cooked his favorite foods. He answered to no one in this private kitchen. I remember a huge tin of olive oil next to his stove always ready to prepare something delicious. One of Grandpa's best creations was an Italian Potato Cake. This is almost a FRITTATA but is cooked in a skillet on top of the stove, so we called it a "cake". Grandpa had a huge heavy skillet which produced a big enough "cake" for our large family. My version is made in a 12 inch non-stick skillet and is easier to turn. Use fresh herbs and don't skip the red pepper as it gives just the right sweetness to this recipe. When turning the "cake" use oven mitts so you don't burn your wrists with any oil that may escape from the skillet. You will know it's time to turn the "cake" over when steam starts coming from the middle and the edges start to separate from the sides of the pan. We served this "potato cake" with fresh Flounder from Joe's Seafood Market on Central Avenue in Valley Stream, breaded with Italian crumbs and fried to a crisp.

Serve this potato cake at room temperature or cold from the refrigerator. This "cake" makes a delicious sandwich topped with genoa salami and a fresh slice of tomato. —Lorraine Fina Stevenski

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 medium russet potatoes (4" or smaller), peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
  • 2 large red peppers, no seeds, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled, sliced 1/4" thick
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 1/4 cup fresh italian parsley, minced fine
  • 4 slices cooked bacon or prosciutto, cut in 1" pieces
  • 8 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese + more for topping at the table
  1. In a 12-inch deep non-stick skillet heat half of the olive oil. Add the peeled and sliced potatoes, red peppers and onions. On medium-high heat turn every minute or so as the vegetables brown. Use more olive oil if necessary.
  2. When the potatoes are lightly browned and soft, add the fresh basil, parsley, bacon or prosciutto and salt and pepper to your taste. Give all the ingredients a few turns until the herbs are mixed in.
  3. Slowly add the beaten eggs to the skillet contents. Use a fork to push the vegetables around so the egg incorporates evenly. Make sure there are enough eggs to fill the pan to the edge of the skillet. Add more eggs if necessary as they will hold all the vegetables together when the "cake" is turned. Cook on medium low heat until the edges and middle of the "cake" are cooked enough to hold together. Steam will escape from the middle when ready to turn.
  4. Take the skillet off the burner to the side and place a 12 inch dinner plate over the "cake". Invert the "cake" onto the platter with 1 hand on the skillet handle and 1 hand on the top of the plate. The bottom of the "cake" will be the top so make sure it is browned just right.
  5. Push the skillet back onto the burner and add the remainder of the olive oil or more if you like, and lightly brown the bottom of the "cake". Shake the skillet a few times to get a nice edge on the "cake". Invert the finished "cake" onto a serving platter. Top with the grated cheese and more salt and pepper to your taste.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Marghet
  • Lorraine Fina Stevenski
    Lorraine Fina Stevenski

3 Reviews

Marghet September 13, 2016
This recipe did not hit the mark for me but it has promise. I wasn't sure what size the author considers 'medium russet potatoes', but there was only large ones (what you'd eat as a twice baked potato meal) at my grocery store so I used 4 large as opposed to 8 medium potatoes. That was way too much for the 12 inch deep pan. It took a while to cook and while I was doubtful, it did actually come out as a cake. The next problem was that the taste was bland and overpowered by the potatoes, no matter how much seasoning. I think either the potatoes should be scaled down, or the bacon doubled. I ended up cutting up scallions and putting them on top with some extra cheese and hot sauce, and then the dish was very tasty. I think that adding a 1/2 cup of scallions instead of parsley would add much more flavor to the dish.
Lorraine F. September 14, 2016
Marghet: This potato cake was originally made by my Grandfather over 70 years ago. Ingredients really make the difference in any recipe. Good tasting olive oil, fresh potatoes, sweet onions, fresh herbs and lots of salt and pepper are key. Seasoning is a preference but enough salt is necessary to bring out the flavors. The only ingredients my Grandfather used was Extra Virgin olive oil, potatoes, onions, red pepper and eggs. And lots of salt and pepper. The taste was amazing. THAT'S IT. I updated the recipe to add more to the mix. Russet potatoes are baking potatoes and 8 medium sized (about 4") cut into small 1/4" dice is right for this recipe. I usually buy a 5 pound bag and the potatoes are not quite as big as baking size. The potato pieces should be small so they cook faster. I like your ingredients ideas and am glad the recipe came out tasty with your additions. I hope you try it again and add the salt when the potatoes are cooking. You have made the recipe your own! ENJOY!
Marghet September 14, 2016
Thanks Lorraine. I always try to use fresh, high-quality ingredients and then I cut the potatoes in 1/4 inch and then salted when the potatoes were cooking. It's probably just the fact I couldn't find the right sized potatoes which lead to the overwhelming potato favor for me. Maybe you should updated your recipe to include '(about 4 in)' next to the potatoes in the ingredients list or change it to a weighted amount by pound or grams?