Artist’s Palate: Not Vital’s plain in pigna
The famously peripatetic Swiss artist Not Vital has worked in such locations as Beijing, Rio, Agadez and Bataan, but maintains close ties with his native Engadin, an Alpine valley famed for its wintry charms. This is evident from the subjects of his sculpture (snowballs encased in glass, a marble sled, an outsized cow’s tongue in stainless steel), his faithfully monochrome palette, and his eponymous foundation, dedicated to preserving the cultural assets of the region. It’s only natural that Vital would give us a traditional dish of grated potatoes, bacon and salsiz sausage. Its name, plain in pigna, means ‘full in the oven’ in his native Romansh. On the use of butter, he offers some sage advice: ‘Don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s one of the most important components.’
600g raw potatoes, roughly grated
50g Salsiz, diced to small pieces
50g bacon, diced to small pieces
1 tbsp white flour
1 tbsp corn flour
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Butter an iron gratin dish and mix in all the ingredients.
The dish should be filled to at least 3cm.
Bake the plain in pigna in the oven for about one hour.