Pranzo di domenica: frico morbido and “edible” tulips

Mmmh…a hot mix of taters and melted cheese to really put the sun in a frozen Sunday. I am all too happy to cook anything wickedly caloric under these frigid extremes (our coldest night yet went down to -8°C) and this is an example of italian comfort food at its best. Frico is a Montasio cheese-based dish found on menus in Friuli, and there are actually 2 versions: frico croccante (crisp) and frico morbido (soft). I’m partial to the soft version without the addition of speck or pancetta.

Frico morbido for two: 2 large potatoes (about 1 pound), half of a large onion, 3-4 ounces Montasio. Peel the potatoes and either grate (large hole) or cut them into small dice. Chop the onions and grate or cut the Montasio into small pieces. Saute the onions in a small amount of butter or olive oil until soft but not browned. Add the potatoes and 1/2 cup water; cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat until potatoes are done and the liquid is evaporated, about 15-20 minutes. Turn into a nonstick skillet and stir in the cheese to combine. Cook on low heat until the bottom is golden and crisp, occasionally giving the skillet a sharp jerk to ensure that the mixture isn’t sticking. Slide onto a plate and flip it over back into the skillet, cooking until bottom is golden brown. Serve as is or any way you like it.

You don’t sing me love songs ♫… I was channeling spring and the late 70’s with this dish. The idea comes from those delicious salt-cod stuffed piquillo peppers so popular in Spain, which is precisely where these sweet peppers were trucked in from. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of Streisand’s or Diamond’s version, or the eventual duet that rocketed to the top of the charts, but MotH really does not bring me flowers because I prefer to make the kind that we can dig into.

For 6 small peppers I used 1/2 pound of salt cod, soaked overnight then boiled in a fresh pot of water for 15 minutes. Remove skin and bones; flake into pieces. Mix with roasted garlic, chopped capers, yogurt mayo and ground black pepper to taste.