Frandura savoury pie: a rustic dish with Liguria’s flavour
A simple dish that warms the heart and gladdens the palate that you can discover by going up the Argentina Valley on the Western Ligurian Riviera: the Frandura di Montalto Ligure savoury pie.
The exact origin of this very strange name is unknown, but there is no doubt about the place: it is typical of the small municipality of Montalto Ligure. This small village, perched on the bank of the Argentina torrent, inland about 7 kilometres from the sea, is the site of an annual festival dedicated to the frandura.
The main characteristic of this delicacy is the simplicity of its ingredients: all you need is a pan well greased with Ligurian P.D.O. olive oil, some thinly sliced potatoes to cover the bottom of the pan with an even layer, a tasty batter made with flour and milk to cover the gaps and form a single layer on top of the potatoes, and finally, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese to taste… To be honest, the original recipe used Pecorino cheese from the valley to give the dish an even stronger taste!
Optimal baking should take place in a well-heated wood-fired oven for about 15 minutes, until the dough turns golden and the cheese forms a crispy crust. Since unfortunately a wood-fired oven is not always available, you can try a home-made version, with an ordinary electric oven, also using baking paper to prevent the product from sticking to the baking tray.
The end result is stunning and satisfying. Out of the oven, the Frandura di Montalto Ligure savoury pie is superbly crispy and tasty.
If you would like to taste it, there are at least two possible alternatives: head to Montalto Ligure in the Province of Imperia town in August to taste it in person on the day of the festival; or to some local restaurant that still prepares according to the original recipe, giving you a true experience of Ligurian tradition.
One thing is for sure, this dish is a must try, you will not be disappointed.