After doing a little research it looks like "tegame" is a word for a covered baking dish. Vernazza was the town where we ate it. I guess the English translation of the
dish's name is "baked dish from Vernazza" - super descriptive. Working from the picture we took of our meal and a little web research, I pulled together this version.
In Vernazza our dish was made with fresh anchovies (see how nice and shiny they are?), but they are hard to find over here. In fact it's hard to find fresh sardines either. I decided to use canned sardines in my version. This also makes it a year-round dish, as opposed to a seasonal one. (An aside: For those who haven't ever tried a fresh anchovy and are thinking of the fillets found in cans, fresh anchovies are a totally different thing. They are oily, but no more than salmon. Their flavor is gently fishy, not strong at all and they are fabulous grilled, fried, sauteed or stewed. If you see them at your local fishmonger, snap 'em up.)
Here's my version of the dish. I hope to get back to Vernazza to try this dish again, but in the meantime, this will have to do.
Tegame alla Vernazzana
This dish was very good the next day, gently reheated. I added a splash of water to rehydrate the sauce.
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes or another buttery, boiling-type potato
- good quality olive oil
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes or good-quality canned whole tomatoes, toran into pieces (I used Muir Glen)
- 2 cans sardines in olive oil
- 1 cup white wine
- dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 350.
Slice the potatoes into thick slices: about 1/2" thick. Simmer the potatoes in a pot of salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes.
Drain the potatoes.
In a casserole or baking dish with a lid (mine is an 10" braising pan), start layering the ingredients: glug a healthy dollop of olive oil into the pan. Lay in half the potatoes, half the tomatoes and all of the sardines. Season with salt and pepper and healthy sprinkle of oregano. Lay the rest of the potatoes and then the tomatoes over the top. Sprinkle more oregano over the dish and pour in the white wine.
Cover the dish and put it in the oven until the dish is hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve in a soup plate, drizzled with more olive oil.