My original Apulian recipe: “Taieddhra!”

Ciao Belli!

How are you?

Today I’m going to prepare an Italian dish typical of my region, Puglia! 

I’m talking about Taieddhra or Tiella a great apulian recipe. It’s a delicious baked casserole with potatoes, mussels and rice. A rich Mediterranean flavor!

My grandma recipe (“nonna” in Italian), includes her “secret” for a mouthwatering dish to die for! 

The name comes from the terracotta pan and could change according to the local dialects.

My “nonna” from Lecce called it “taieddhra” while my “nonno” from Bari called it “tiella”.

Are u ready?

Andiamo!

History of the recipe

This Apulian recipe originated during the time of Spanish rule in southern Italy, and it has been described as being “reminiscent of Spanish rule”. The American journalist and writer Waverly Root author The Food of Italy on Italy and its regional cuisines described it as “one of the few Spanish dishes which have been taken into the Italian repertory” and considered it was distantly related to paella. Potatoes entered Italian cuisine during the 16th century, a time of powerful Spanish influence in the peninsula.

Ingredients:

  • A pan (clay/aluminum/iron) around 30 cm diameter (12 inch)
  • 600 gr (22 oz) of yellow potatoes, cut into tiny slices
  • 1 kg (35 oz) of mussels (after the cleaning process you’ll get more or less 45 half shells)
  • 250 gr (9 oz) of Italian rice with big grains (Arborio, Roma). 
  • 10 small tomatoes cut in pieces 
  • 8 tablespoons of original Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 
  • 5 tablespoons of original Pecorino Romano or Pecorino Sardo cheese
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil fromPuglia (a good one!)
  • Half white onion sliced
  • One minced garlic clove
  • 4/5 tablespoon of roughly chopped parsley (fresh!)
  • A pinch of salt (not too much)
  • Grounded Black Pepper
  • A courgette (optional)

Note: the use of the courgette has always been a reason for great arguments between my grandparents… See the video to know why!

My tips

Here in Puglia we believe that the best mussels are from Taranto city. 

They are small, juicy, delicious. 

Unfortunately, everybody wants them so it’s getting very difficult to find them. They are becoming a legend like unicorns…

The point is to use ONLY 1st quality mussels, absolutely fresh! 

It’s also very important also to make the layers in the right order: 

Potatoes go always at the bottom and at the top of the pan while the rice goes always on top of the mussels.

Remember to clean the shells of the mussels perfectly, scratching the impurities with a knife and with an iron sponge.

If the mussels cleaning process is too tedious, ask your fishmonger to do it for you carefully and remind him to provide you the filtered water of the mussels. You’ll need it (read below!)

Once the casserole is ready, please wait at least half hour before eating as all the ingredients need to “rest” before melting in your mouth!

This is a typical Sunday dish as it need a bit of time for is preparation and it tastes even better seating together with relatives and friends!

It’s great served warm or room temperature and we usually prepare it in summertime. 

MY “NONNA” SECRET: do not through away the water of the mussels but keep apart!

Once carefully filtered (several times), it will go in the pan diluted with a bit of tap water in order to give a burst of flavor and the right saltiness to the casserole.

The filtered water is mandatory for this recipe or my grandmother will turn in her grave!

Hope you enjoy the video!

Un bacio

Sergio

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