Tiella from Puglia — Tomatoes, summer squash, sweet onion and potatoes layered with breadcrumbs, pecorino and herbs, then baked until everything’s tender and melds. There are as many ways to make this as there are households, this is based on one from the Salento, and replaces mussels with juicy, ripe tomatoes for an all-vegetable version.
Tiella — Tomato, Potato and Summer Squash Casserole
2 pounds yellow potatoes, sliced thinly
1 pound summer squash, sliced thinly
1 pound onions, sliced thinly
4 large tomatoes, about 2 pounds, sliced thinly, reserve juices
Good olive oil
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
3/4 cup grated pecorino or parmesan
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
– Heat oven at 400°F. Slick the bottom and sides of a large baking dish or roasting pan, about 11 by 13 inches, and sprinkle 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs to coat the bottom.
– Layer half of the potatoes, onions, then summer squash in the pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, and 1/4 cup parsley. Arrange half of the tomato slices on top, season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle another layer of 1/4 cup cheese. Continue layering with the remaining potatoes, onions, summer squash, and the rest of the tomatoes. For the top layer, sprinkle remaining cheese, breadcrumbs, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with any remaining tomato juices and olive oil, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking an additional 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through. Remove from oven and let rest before serving.
Adapted from “Flavors of Puglia” by Nancy Harmon Jenkins.
Local ingredients: Mix of heirloom tomatoes from Meadow’s Mirth and New Roots Farm; Ailsa Craig sweet onions from Touching Earth Farm; Satina potatoes from Nelson Farm; homemade breadcrumbs; summer squash and parsley from the garden.
Note: You might notice that this tiella has a top layer of summer squash, and only one tomato layer in the middle. The next time we’ll remember to include two layers of tomatoes. Sometimes life is like that.