This is a recipe that originated in my native village in the Calabria region of Italy. It's considered a peasant dish because it's so inexpensive to make, with three main ingredients: potatoes, peppers and onions. But what's considered "low class" can just easily become gourmet — just look at polenta. I used to laugh with my family as we gathered around the table eating it from a communal wooden board, thinking that some day it would be considered fancy. Today it's seen on some of the finest restaurant menus.
This dish was a comfort food favorite when I was a child, and now it's one for my children. In this sense I'm passing on a small part of my family legacy.
Since I rarely can leave a recipe static, I wanted to update this Old World dish to suit the New World palate, so I topped it with some yummy sautéed kale. It's also great (if you're not vegan) to top it with a sunny side up egg. The yoke spreads over the other ingredients, and every bite is scrumptious — perfect for a family brunch.
- Two small organic Yukon gold potatoes per person - washed and unpeeled
- 1/2 medium sweet onion per person - sliced in half and then in 1/4-inch slices
- 1 Cubanelle (or Italian frying pepper) per person - 1/4-inch slices lengthwise
- 1/4 cup olive oil - or enough to completely cover the bottom of the pan
- 2 medium cloves fresh garlic - finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the kale:
- 1 8-ounce bag of fresh kale (or one bunch) - washed and dried
- 1 clove garlic - finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, add the potatoes and cover with water. Depending on the size, cook for 15 to 20 minutes after the water has come to a boil; you should be able to pierce the potatoes with a fork, but they should still quite firm. Drain, cut in half lengthwise. With the cut side down, cut in 1/4" half-moon slices
Place a large (11" or larger) sauté pan over medium/high heat and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the garlic and cook until it just begins to color (about 30 seconds) and add all the potatoes, peppers and onions.
Stir occasionally (don't over stir, because the potatoes will crumble) until all the vegetables are softened and the potatoes are slightly golden. You may need to add a splash of water from time to time if the vegetables need more liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove with a slotted spoon (draining as much oil as possible) and plate on individual plates.
While the vegetables are cooking, clean, dry and break pieces of kale away from their thick center stem. Once the veggies are removed from the pan (leaving behind the cooking oil) add the garlic and cook until golden and add the kale. Cook just until it wilts, but still has its bright green color.
Top the vegetables with the kale.