Fucazza is a dish from southern Italy. What we Americans would call comfort food. Made with mashed potatoes, that is where the similarity ends with American cooking. Fucazza is a spicy dish. The potatoes do what bread would do in other dishes. It holds the filling. The filling in this version is onions, pepper, tomatoes, olives and spiced meat (salami) with wine and spices. The potatoes are seasoned while cooking, mashed and mixed with cheese.
My guys are major mashed potato fans. Too bad their mother rarely makes them. I was interested to see what they would make of this version. We all love spicy dishes so I felt pretty safe making it.
Cook the potatoes with the skins on. It’s important to start with cold water. That way the potatoes and water heat up at the same time. You get evenly cooked spuds with no raw spots. I add salt, garlic powder and a dose of lemon juice to up the flavor in the spuds even more.
Cook the potatoes while you prepare the filling. The two are ready at pretty close to the same time. Layer up the dish and bake it till its golden and the top is crunchy (from the bread crumbs).
My son had 3 helpings and told me the only reason he didn’t eat all of it was so he could take some to school for lunch tomorrow. I have been informed that this one is “a keeper”.
3 lbs of red potatoes, halved, or quartered if large
1-2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs lemon juice
1 cup asiago or romano cheese, grated
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
olive oil, as needed
2-3 peperoncini, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh peppers (cubanelle-or medium heat) chopped fine
1/2 tbs ground coriander
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced (or canned with juice, if fresh not available)
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 tbs capers, rinsed
2 oz artisan salami, diced
salt and pepper to taste
Place the cut potatoes into a large pot. Rinse with cold water until water is clear. Add only enough water to cover potatoes. Add salt, garlic powder and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until potatoes yeild easily to a knife. Drain. Mix in cheese thoroughly. Set aside.
While waiting for the potatoes to cook…..
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and onions and saute until softened. Add peppers and peperoncini. Continue to cook until peppers are also soft. Add coriander and stir well to coat everything with the spice. Add olives, tomatoes, wine, capers and salami. Simmer until liquid is almost completely evaporated. Taste and add salt/pepper is needed. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Oil a large casserole dish. Place half of the potatoes in the bottom and spread into an even layer. Spoon filling evenly over the potatoes. Now put the remaining potatoes over the filling. Make spoonfuls on the smaller side to make it easier to spread into a uniform layer without disturbing the filling too much. Use your hands or the back of a large spoon to press it down into a level top. Drizzle with olive oil and lots of fresh ground black pepper. Sprinkle bread crumbs in a thin layer. Bake for 45-50 minutes until top is lightly browned. Serve hot or at room temperature. Enjoy!