When I visited Rita on her cookery holiday last year, one of my absolute food highlights was Fritto Misto, lightly fried seafood and vegetables piled high and splashed with lemon. Good Lord! I can still taste it now.
I learned from my time there that seafood is a must on any Italian Christmas menu – from Baccala (salted cod, visit Rita at Christmas to master the speciality) to my beloved Fritto Misto.
Minimal ingredients, easy to do, and an absolute crowd pleaser – let us know how you get on!
Vegetable batter mix:
150g flour (00 or just plain)
250ml cold lager (you can also use sparkling water)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Notes on buying frozen seafood:
Do not fear! The fishermen freeze the fish on the boat, so they are basically just as fresh :-)
Notes on fresh squid:
Do not buy squid that has already been cleaned, as you will find they have a rubbery texture when cooked. The smaller the squid the most tender they will be. Rita likes to thaw and clean them herself.
To clean them, pull the tentacles from the body, discard the skin and insides, and dispose of the little black eye on the tentacle. She washes the squid (including the tentacles), and cuts them into little rings. If you decide to add prawns, remember to remove the black intestine – open the prawn on the back with a slit of the knife and carefully pull it out. This only has to be done with big prawns.
Heat sunflower oil (or your frying preference) to a hot temperature, throw in a practice piece to make sure it is hot (if fried on a low heat, they will become greasy).
For the seafood:
- Toss the squid in all purpose flour and shake off excess flour through a sieve.
- Fry your squid and tentacles for a few minutes until golden, turning as needed.
- Then fry your prawns and cook for a further few minutes until golden brown.
For the veg:
- Wash the potatoes and courgettes and cut them into long thin matchsticks.
- Make the batter (Rita adds a little beer as it helps crisp the veg (yay!)) and dip the vegetables in.
- Cook them in hot oil until brown and crisp.
- Drain everything on absorbent paper.
Add salt and serve immediately with lemon wedges (I personally love an abundance of it!).
If you have never experienced a proper Italian Christmas meal, or would like to get your Fritto Misto or seafood game on at any time, Rita is your go-to girl!
You can find more information about her Italian cookery holiday here, which runs year round, and she is more than happy to help you whip up your Italian favourite if you give her some advance notice.
Or feel free to browse our full range of cooking holidays in Italy here.