Ascoli Piceno is a town in the Marche region of Italy and the capital of the province is the same name. Ascoli Olives are one of the most famous products of the Le Marche region. These stuffed olives date back to the 1800s and are a great accompaniment to a glass of regional wine. The olives are served hot and are stuffed (without the pit) by mixing together three types of meat, beef, pork, turkey or chicken. Added to that mixture are cheese, nutmeg, eggs, and then blended with herbs, celery, carrot and onion. Once the olives are filled they are then coated first in flour, then egg and breaded with breadcrumbs, which are fried to perfection. Sounds really very tasty and a great appetizer.
While strolling through the streets at the Fritto Misto festival you can see booths where visitors can taste fried food samples or better known as the Palafritto, (fried food to pass) from different regions of Italy. Various foods that you would be able to sample include fried vegetables such as, cauliflower, artichoke hearts, asparagus, eggplant, and calamari. Some other specialty foods that you would enhance your taste buds would be the Sicilian Arancini or rice balls, zucchini, plus you cannot forget the fried Zeppole.
My recipe this week is “Momma’s Fried Cardoons” which my mom taught me when I was younger. It is really delicious, sweet, but crunchy. You can serve these hot with any meal as a side dish or even as an appetizer. So enjoy Fritto Misto this weekend as you make your own “fried finger food frenzy." Now that’s a mouth full!!
“Mamma’s Fried Cardoons”
1 bunch of cardoons (looks like celery stalks) about 2 lbs
1 cup of flour
2 to 3 beaten eggs
1 to 2 cups of flavored breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano grated cheese
vegetable oil (add more if needed)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Prepare cardoons by first removing the excess leaves, roots and rough parts of the stalks. Rinse with cold water, scrub with vegetable brush to remove “string” from other parts of the stalk. Boil in salted water for about 10 minutes or until knife tender. Avoid overcooking or stalks will be mushy. The younger the plant, the shorter the boiling time. Prepare 3 dishes; one with flour, one with beaten eggs, salt and pepper to taste; and the third dish with the mixture of breadcrumbs combines with cheese. Bread the stalks very gently, first with the flour, then the egg mixture and the last with breadcrumbs. Pre-heat pan and add a small layer of vegetable oil. Fry cardoons till golden brown and crispy by turning them in the oil. Remove then from pan and drain on a paper towel. You may want to add more salt and pepper (to taste) serve while hot, if they last till dinner.
Till Next Time……
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