Rafanata: The Italian Potato Frittata With A Potent Kick

Italian cuisine is some of the most popular in the world. In fact, YouGov completed a study that found pizza and pasta dishes to be among the most popular in 24 different countries.

Italy's most famous carbohydrates have given it a reputation for fine dining throughout the world, but what often gets exported is just a taste of the many regional dishes. Napa Flats points out that Italian food is highly specific to the many different regions of the peninsula. In fact, much of the peninsula has only been unified as a country for about 160 years (via WorldAtlas). Many of the different states have their own cultural identity that is often expressed through the foods unique to the region. For example, Roman cuisine loves to show off the many artichokes that grow in its region of Lazio.

The frittata has also been adapted to different regions as well. It makes sense that a dish that is mostly a cooked base of eggs would take on different influences of course. Great Italian Chefs says that one particular form of the frittata hails from the Southeastern region Basilicata and is called rafanata.

Rafanata's key ingredients

Like most frittatas, the rafanata is going to be based around eggs. Great Italian Chefs recommends using about eight eggs for this dish. There are two other ingredients that really set the rafanata apart though, and those would be potatoes and horseradish.

Epicurious argues that potatoes and eggs are one of the classic food combinations of the world. Think about the obligatory side of starchy potatoes that comes with every egg breakfast at a diner, and you get the idea. Hash Browns and home fries always make a great sponge for all of that rich, runny egg yolk. In the rafanata, the potatoes are mashed before being added and seem to add some body to the otherwise creamy dish.

Great Italian Chefs reports that another important ingredient is horseradish. This spicy root is actually the key ingredient that makes this dish a rafanata and serves as the source of the dish's name. In Italian, the word rafano means horseradish. The subtle spice of the horseradish goes well with potatoes and adds a nice zest, just as it does when added to a simple potato salad.

How to make a rafanata

Making a rafanata is not all that different from making a classic frittata. Start with your base of eggs, add your prepared toppings, and cook.

Great Italian Chefs says to start with your horseradish grated, and your potatoes mashed. MyRecipes also subs in fried slices of potatoes instead of mashed, so choose whichever you prefer. Mix those ingredients in with your eggs along with a healthy pinch of salt and pepper, and some pecorino cheese. Pour those ingredients into a properly oven-safe pan with plenty of olive oil, and then place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Lastly, put it in the oven under the broiler to allow the rest of the egg to set properly.

Taste Atlas says that the rafanata is then usually served in wedges with mustard or sour cream to top it on the side. Rafanata can also be served warm or prepared in advance and served at room temperature if you prefer.