Friday, October 19, 2018

Piedmont fritto misto

In Piedmont, the colder months of the year traditionally translates into a fried feast. From porcini mushrooms to savory and fried meats up to fruit and fried sweets, because virtually anything can make up the fritto misto alla piemontese or mixed fried dish à la Piedmontese 👌

Photo courtesy of Sale e Pepe

The origin of this specialty goes back to a time when in the rural areas of Piedmont, where today you can visit wineries, go truffle hunting, enjoy the view of hazelnut groves and visit sustainable and natural farms, families used to butcher their own animals, cooked and ate as many parts as possible to minimize the wastes. And when we say 'they ate everything' we mean it as traditionally, even risotto was made with the bone marrow!
So, all the parts of the animal that would normally we discarded, in the fall and the winter, would find their own glory time on the table. This made it a creative recipe leaving the list of the ingredients pretty much open to what was readily available in terms of animals (veal, lamb, beef or pork), fruit and vegetables, up here we have always been eating strictly local and seasonal.

Photo courtesy of Enolocanda Del Tufo

As it is no secret that whatever you fry tastes delicious, you can find many fried specialties all over Italy, however, the mixed fried dish à la Piedmontese is the richest ones in terms of array of pieces you can find. La Cucina Italiana states that 'originally' this recipe included up to 18 different pieces between animal parts, sweets and produce and Wiki says that today, fish is included and the pieces can get up to 30!
Just imagine the high conviviality atmosphere when big families and friends sit down at the same table, with red wine and huge serving dishes of multiple fried foods, making the happiness of carnivores, vegetarians and even vegans 🙆

Photo courtesy of La Cucina Italiana

Like in the past, today you won't eat twice the same fritto misto either, and depending on where you are you will enjoy more or less refined animal parts and lake or river fish. However, the staples still include: liver, brain, sausage, wiener schnitzel, sweet semolina fritters, sweet chocolate semolina fritters (of course!), amaretti di Mombaruzzo cookies and apple fritters.
And yes, everything is breaded and fried in extra virgin olive oil with butter.
Naturally, the beef bone marrow, sweetbreads and lungs are rather common too, as well as all sorts of seasonal vegetables like zucchini blossoms or fried porcini mushrooms, and fruit, like ramassin plums in the summer.
Often times, French fries and sautées carrots or other veggies can join the feast too. It is also quite frequent to be served fried lamb ribs, frog legs, chicken nuggets and fried zucchini, eggplants and artichokes. Basically, anything you can fry in evoo and a bit of butter.

Photo courtesy of Di Alessandria

Fritto misto is a rather elaborate dish as each item needs to be prepared separately to keep its original flavor. This is why usually restaurants include it in their big Sunday menu and much rarely à la carte. Because this recipe calls for one piece of each ingredient per eater, the quantities are huge and serving everything together is virtually impossible if you cook at home. So organizational skills and timing are of paramount importance.

The wide variety of the fritto misto flavors and its general appetizing fried taste allow this dish to be paired with most of the red wines produced in Piedmont such as:

or the sparkling white wines like:
Cortese di Gavi
Alta Langa
Asti Spumante

Omnivores, carnivores, vegetarians and vegans, foodies and wine lovers, in Piedmont you will always find something delicious to savor. Wait no longer, plan your travel over here with us.

E-mail us: to inquire about our epicurean experiences and mindfulness sessions to  maximize your Italian travel!

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