This is a dish my Grandmother and Mother made for every family get together and picnic I can remember — it was considered a true staple at every function. My Grandmother was from Calabria, so I always assumed the recipe was from the southern region of Italy, but, to this day cannot find anything quite like it. They called it (and I’ll do this phonetically) Tee-ah-na, and of course at a young age thought it to be common in the rest of the world as it was in our family – as I got older and started preparing the recipe myself, I soon found this was not the case.
So, I am recreating this simple but delicious recipe and sharing it under the more common guise of Fried Zucchini Potato and Pepper Pie until the day I find out the true origin and spelling of my families traditional dish.
3 medium or 4 small Zucchini, sliced with skin on
6 large white potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 large green bell peppers, seeded and sliced
2 large hot banana peppers, seeded and sliced (optional)
1 large white or vidalia onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 hard boiled eggs, shelled and sliced
1 -2 jars prepared tomato sauce
approx 1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano
4 tbsp olive oil
cooking oil for frying
In a large skillet heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat and add peppers and cook for 5 minutes stirring – then add the sliced onion and chopped garlic and continue to saute till just starting to caramelize. Remove pepper and onion mixture from skillet and place in a bowl for later use.
In the same skillet add the remaining olive oil over medium heat and once hot add the potatoes and fry (reducing heat a bit as you go) till starting to crisp (this will take 15-30 mins depending on stove, skillet and heat). Once done remove to another bowl for later use.
Prepare a dish with seasoned all-purpose flour (salt and pepper). In a clean skillet, add about a 1/4 inch of cooking oil for frying and heat on medium. Once oil is hot, dredge your Zucchini slices in the seasoned flour and fry till golden (about 3-4 minutes a side). Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess grease.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an average sized baking pan or pie tin, spoon in a layer of the prepared tomato sauce, and then begin alternating layers of potato, peppers and onion, zucchini; add 1/2 the potatoes evenly for first layer and sprinkle lightly with grated cheese, add next layer with half the peppers, spread on a thin layer of sauce with round side of a spoon and sprinkle with grated cheese, add half the zucchini evenly across pan for next layer with another thin layer of sauce – repeat steps one more time until last layer of zucchini is the top layer, add a heavier layer of sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese and top with sliced hard boiled eggs.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes and then remove foil and bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 20 minutes before serving with spatula like a lasagna.
ENJOY your Fried Zucchini Potato and Pepper Pie brought to you by Tasty Farmer