View this email in your browser

My favourite thing ever

This week we’re practising self-care by resting our head on crispy, light and fluffy pillows of gnocco fritto.

I’ve not done the research, but I’d hypothesise that eating ten of these is the equivalent to ten minutes of mediation. Hot, lard-enriched fried dough is stuffed with cheese and cured meats. Simple, but seriously unbelievable.

Gnocco fritto is a great starter or aperitivo. But be warned: these little things are really quite addictive.

This week’s album: 
Legend by Bob Marley and the Wailers

No explanation needed, but I'll give one anyways... A confident album name, but one that’s absolutely deserved. It’s Marley’s greatest hits collection and features everything that made him so famous. Impossible not to like.

A dish by many names

Gnocco fritto is probably the most well-known name for these delights, but I first came across them in Parma where they’re called ‘torta fritta’. I later learned that they’re a delicacy across the whole of the Emilia-Romagna region in the north of Italy, and go by various names depending on where you are…

In Modeana they’re called ‘gnocco fritto’, in Bologna they’re ‘crescentine’, in Piacenza they’re ‘chisolino’ (which are sometimes stuffed with ham made of pork shoulder), in Ferrara they’re ‘pinzino’, and in Reggio Emilia they’re ‘chizza fritta’ (which are often stuffed with herbs, spinach, and parmesan).

Whatever you call it, the dough’s the same. One that’s enriched with lard for an incredibly dreamy flavour. Traditionally, you’d fry gnocco fritto in lard as well, but it’s a bit of a faff so we’re opting for the simpler option of vegetable/sunflower oil.

In terms of what to serve them with, the choice is completely yours.

The north of Italy is spoilt for choice when it comes to cured meats. There’s Parma ham, coppa, capocollo, pancetta (very thinly sliced), plenty of varieties of salami and, my favourite, mortadella. You can find these in a decent deli or online.

When it comes to cheeses, I would highly recommend parmesan and gorgonzola. Crescenza, stracchino and squacquerone are perfect for spreading on the fried breads too if you can find them.

This weekend marks 5 weeks to Christmas, and the point at which Love Actually begins. All of which means it's ok to suggest doing gnocco fritto, with a side of mortadella, for a Christmas aperitivo.
What you need

The below makes 20 pieces. It takes 30 mins to prep (plus 1 hour of resting) and 5 mins to cook.

7g active yeast
60ml whole milk
60ml water
1 tsp sugar
300g plain flour
½ tbsp baking powder
30g lard (room temp)
½ tbsp fine salt

Vegetable oil for frying
Choice of cheeses & cured meats to fill your gnocco fritto

Ready, steady, cook

1. Add the water and milk to a small saucepan. Gently heat until warm, then add the yeast and sugar. Stir well. Leave until it starts foaming (basically 10 mins).

2. Add the flour and baking powder to a large mixing bowl. Mix. Add the lard and use your fingertips to combine.

3. Slowly add your step 1 mixture and mix with a spoon. After you’ve added about half the mixture, add the salt. Mix again and then continue to add the mixture until it’s all incorporated.

4. You should now have something resembling a dough. Transfer this to a work surface and knead with your hands (like you're making pasta dough). It will become less and less sticky as you knead. You’re aiming for a smooth dough that springs back when you make an indent with your finger. 

Now shape it into a ball, place in a clean bowl, and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rest for at least one hour, but preferably two.

5. Once rested, dust a work surface lightly with flour and transfer the dough to it. Cut the dough into three pieces and roll out each piece evenly until about 3mm thick (really try to get it this thin as it helps them to puff up when fried). Use a sharp knife or pasta wheel to cut the rolled dough into 5cm squares.

6. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 5cm of vegetable oil until it reaches 180°c. No thermometer? Have a look here for a handy guide on knowing when your oil is ready for frying.

7. Working in batches (i.e. a few squares at time), fry the squares for a minute on each side (or until golden brown and puffed up). For extra puff you can use a dessert spoon to carefully flick oil over the side that isn't in contact with the oil. Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the gnocco fritto and drain on kitchen paper.

8. Allow to rest for a moment. Then serve up. Tear open and stuff with your favourite cured meats and cheeses.

Final thought

Have a few left over and wondering what to do with them? Spread with Nutella and have them for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or dessert.

Same time next week.


Painting a pretty picture? 

Tag your dishes with #eatmywordslondon,
or hit reply to this email with a photo.


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Eat My Words · Kew Gardens · Kew, TW9 · United Kingdom

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp