(Above: Torta d’patata before putting it in the oven where it develops a light, brown, crust.)
This is a recipe from my grandmother Bruna’s kitchen. It’s a very thin and savory potato cake made with swiss chard.
You basically make mashed potatoes and then add some savory ingredients before spreading it on a cookie sheet and baking it.
My grandmother was born in the hills of northern Tuscany, so I believe this recipe is very much a Tuscan specialty. I made this as part of the “Julia (Child) Meets Bruna” dinner party meal plan, and a version of it also showed up in the “Southern France Vegetarian” meal plan.
Here’s the recipe:
- Potatoes, peeled, washed, and cut in half (about 4 pounds)
- Onion, chopped fine (1 large)
- Garlic (1 clove, smashed or split in two)
- Fresh parsley, chopped (a small handful or about 1/4 cup)
- Fresh sage, chopped (About 2-3 tablespoons)
- Fresh mint, chopped (A small handful or about 1/4 cup)
- Swiss chard, chopped (1 bunch, about 8 leaves with stems trimmed)
- Chicken bullion cube (1/2 a cube)
- Grated parmesan cheese (3/4 cup)
- 2 Eggs
- Butter (1-2 tablespoons)
- Step 1 Put potatoes in boiling water and cook until very tender. Drain in a colander and then make mashed potatoes with them. (I put the potatoes through a ricer so there are no lumps.
- Step 2 In a frying pan, saute the onions until translucent and then add the garlic, parsley, sage, and mint. Stir for about a minute and then add the swiss chard. Cover and cook until swiss chard shrinks and is ready to eat.
- Step 3 Dissolve half a chicken bullion cube about 3/4 cup of hot water.
- Step 4 Add all ingredients (from frying pan and the chicken stock you just created) to the mashed potatoes and stir.
- Step 5 Add the grated cheese, the 2 eggs and the butter to the mashed potatoes and stir until the eggs and everything are well blended.
- Step 6 Grease a cookie sheet with Crisco shortening. Sprinkle flour over it to cover the pan. Turn out excess flour.
- Step 7 Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, spread mashed potato mixture evenly over cookie sheet.
- Step 8 Place in a 350 oven until lightly golden brown (be careful not to let bottom burn). This should take about 20 minutes, give or take 5 minutes or so.
- Step 9 Take from the oven and sprinkle salt over the top. Cut into large squares or rectangles.