Thursday, March 12, 2015

Radicchio and Potatoes Cake

Another milestone of culinary sophistication has been attained by my local Safeway when it has started to carry radicchio treviso on a regular basis. I knew radicchio treviso  (Radicchio di Treviso) only from Italy where it is used for all cooking dishes, while the round one is mainly served fresh. So when I spotted treviso I have been buying it every couple of days and making all the dishes I have always wanted to try with a true cooking radicchio. And today's recipe is a combination of two dishes that I ate.

In a magazine that I brought last time from Italy I found a recipe for radicchio, potatoes, and ricotta cake. I made that dish some time ago and it was nice but, despite the natural bitterness of the radicchio, it seemed too bland for my taste.

Then an Italian friend served for dinner a tart on a shortcrust base, filled with layers of potatoes and radicchio, and finished with cheese. It was very good. I liked very much this combination. But since I make tarts very often, I decided to make purely a vegetable version of that dish. I think that the combination of a slightly bitter radicchio, mild potatoes, and melting cheese is very interesting, even without the crust.

The dish can be served alone in a vegetarian version but it can also accompany roasted lamb.

Radicchio and Potatoes Cake

3 heads radicchio treviso (or two of the regular round ones) cut in half and sliced,
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced,
1/2 cup white wine,
6 medium potatoes cooked in skins until tender,
3 tbsp olive oil,
1/2 lb fontina cheese, sliced,
salt and pepepr to taste.

1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add onion and fry until transparent. Add radicchio and cook on a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add wine and cook until radicchio starts to wilt and darkens.
2. Turn off the heat and season the radicchio with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat oven to 375F.
4. Grease a 9-inch oven-proof dish with the remaining tbsp of oil.
5. Peel the potatoes and cut into thin slices. Spread half of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Spread the radicchio on top. Cover the radicchio with remaining potatoes.
6. Season the top of potatoes generously with freshly ground pepper and cover with fontina slices.

7. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake the dish for another 10-15 minutes, until fontina melts and becomes gold.

Serve hot.