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Reminding me a lot of French boulangère potatoes, these thin potato slices are baked layered with a rich and punchy tomato, roasted pepper, caper, oregano and anchovy sauce – along with a generous amount of white wine – before being baked until tender ands given a crisp topping. They do take quite a lot of time, but most of this is hands off time in the oven once you’ve made the bake, and they do take well to being re-heated if you want to make them ahead. The day I took these pictures I just put them in the warming oven of the AGA once I was done until we ate a few hours later.
I have made quite a few tweaks from the original recipe. Mainly: the Greek original calls for A LOT of olive oil. I mean, cups of it. I made it this way the first time and it was delicious, but I honestly did not see much of a flavour difference the second time when I seriously cut down, which is good news both because oil is, after all, a fat, and because extra virgin olive oil can get quite pricy!
Second, I’ve tweaked the vegetables a bit. The original recipe calls for green peppers, and while I’ll happily make it with them in the future (I usually really dislike the taste of green peppers by themselves so it is always a disappointment for me when I get loads in a wonky bag when I’ve done an online shop) but when I first made it I only had one, so I used one orange, one green and the dish came out a bit of a brown colour, not the brilliant red picture that came with it. Since I’ve been using red peppers: delicious, and visually attractive, but I’m telling you this so you can use what you’ve got. I’ve upped the amount of tomato too, because more veggies are always a good thing, and the greenhouse here will soon be approaching tomato glut status!
A Greek-style layered potato bake enriched with peppers, tomatoes, capers and anchovies, perfect for serving as part of a summer spread and alongside grilled or barbecued meats.
4 medium waxy potatoes
2 red peppers
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300g (7 oz) tomatoes
2 tbsp capers
8 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
2 tsp dried oregano
200ml (3/4 cup) dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (390 farenheit).
Peel the potatoes and using a mandolin, carefully slice the potatoes thinly – I do this on the middle of my three settings. Alternatively, slice them as thin as you can using a large, heavy and very sharp knife. Toss with a generous amount of sea salt and set aside.
Deseed the peppers and cut into thin slices. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan set over a medium high heat, and fry the peppers for 4-5 minutes until they have softened and just started to colour.
Transfer the peppers, along with the tomatoes cut into rough chunks, the capers and the anchovies to a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste.
In a large shallow baking dish toss together the potatoes, pepper paste, oregano, white wine and a generous amount of black pepper until the potatoes are well coated. Smooth the mixture down into the dish to create the gratin.
Take a large piece of baking parchment just bigger than the dish and screw it up into a tight ball before unfurling it. This will soften the paper so that it easily presses into the edges of the dish and covers the potatoes in the oven. Do so, and bake the potatoes for 40 minutes.
Carefully remove the baking parchment from the potatoes, returning them to the oven for a further 20 minutes so the top can crisp up a little.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes at room temperature to allow any leftover cooking juices to absorb into the potatoes before serving.
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