This Neapolitan dish takes (s)mashed potatoes to a whole new level, Neptune, maybe. It’s a great side dish or a light main course, with some steamed carrots and a salad. The original, Italian recipe called for fresh mozzarella cheese, but go with what you have. I particularly like the ‘fondue’ cheeses, like Gruyère, Emmenthal, Fontina, or Raclette. If you don’t have stale bread on hand, pop a slice of bread in the oven for 10 minutes or so, then crumble.
2 1/2 lbs potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 c dry bread crumbs or toasted wheat germ
3 T butter or vegetable oil, or a combination; plus extra for greasing baking dish
1 c milk or potato cooking liquid
1 c plus 2 T grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 t (freshly) grated nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz (fresh) mozzarella or other cheese, chopped or grated
4 – 8 oz salami or similar, such as chopped ham or proscuitto, or vegetarian alternative
1. Cut potatoes, if large, into pieces. Put into a pot and cover with cold water. Salt the water if you like. Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are tender. Drain, reserving the cooking water if you intend to use it in place of milk, or for use as a stock. Cool slightly.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a baking dish. Sprinkle the bottom and sides with the bread crumbs.
3. Peel the potatoes if you like. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes. Stir in the 3 T of butter, the milk, 1 c of the Parmesan, the beaten egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Combine well. Fold in the mozzarella and salami.
4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 T of the Parmesan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is browned. Allow to stand for 5 minutes or so before serving.