This is the second installment in my Regions of Italy project. It’s Pallotte Cace e Ova, or Cheese and Egg Fritters.
The original recipe called for extra virgin olive oil for deep frying. I find this a bit nutty. In the first place, extra virgin olive oil has a low smoke point, which means that the risk of burning is quite high. (You can argue with me about that if you want, but I’ve seen olive oil scorch way too quickly, so I stick with that belief.)
Second, extra virgin olive oil so expensive that the thought of filling a pot with 3 or so inches of it makes me dizzy. Also, the general belief is that so much of the flavor of extra virgin olive oil is lost when it’s heated, and so it’s not worth using to cook, which is why I use regular olive oil even for sauteing. So, for deep frying, I prefer to use peanut or some other cooking oil. But I’ll leave that choice up to you.
The fritters can be eaten by themselves, but are often served with tomato sauce. Having said that, I found that a spritz of lemon made them taste fabulous. Enjoy!
Cheese and Egg Fritters
Pallotte Cace e Ova
Recipe adapted from La Cucina—The Regional Cooking of Italy by Accademia Italiana della Cucina (The Italian Academy of Cuisine). Published by Rizzoli Publications.
½ lb. stale bread, crust removed (I used whole wheat sliced bread)
2 cups grated pecorino
5 large eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 cup tomato sauce or lemon wedges
Either with a food processor or by hand, crumble the bread into fairly fine crumbs. (If you use a processor, transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl). Add the pecorino, eggs, garlic, and parsley.Line a platter with paper towels and set it by the stove.
Heat about 3 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Using 2 tablespoons for each, form the mixture into balls. When the oil is very hot, carefully drop a few balls into it. (Bring the balls as close to the oil as possible when releasing them to minimize splash-back.). Fry them until gold brown. This should only take a minute or so. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the paper towels.
Repeat with the remaining mixture.
Serve hot with the sauce and/or lemon wedges.