Sunday, March 29, 2015

Whitebait fritters paired with Mandrarossa pinot grigio

Have you ever tried those tiny newborn whitebaits fish called in Italian "neonata"?
In the Bel Paese the fishing of whitebaits has been regulated by specific laws and is allowed
only two months per year to preserve the variety and the species. This is the reason why I always look forward to eating this lovely dish. We usually mix the neonata with eggs, grated cheese and fresh herbs, then we fry it in extra virgin oil of olive. Keep reading for the traditional recipe.

                                     Ingredients & Preparation for 4 people:
                                                         500 gr whitebaits
                                                          1 egg
                                               2 ts white flour 00
                                100 gr grated Sicilian caciocavallo (or pecorino)
                                                salt & black pepper
                                       fresh chopped parsley (a little bunch)
                                                  e.v.o. for frying

The preparation of this dish is very easy and very straightforward. In a bowl mix well the whitebaits with an egg, the grated cheese, salt & pepper as you like, and in the end the spoons of flour and the chopped parsley.

On high heat put a large frying pan and pour some extra virgin olive oil in. (If you prefer the lighter and grilled version just skip the oil step and let the pan heat without anything at all.) 

When the pan is really hot (or when the oil is hot if you are preparing the fried version) gently pour a full spoon of mixture into the pan as it starts to cook/fry. Do the same for every fritter that fit in the pan.

If the pan is big try to put as many as possible, probably you will be able to have 7 or 8 fritters all together. Just make sure they are not too close one another. Once they are cooked on a side turn them over using a grill turner to help you.

Serve them hot with some lemon on the side, as I personally love squeezing some juice on top.

I would definitely pair this delicate and unique dish with an outstanding white wine produced by Cantine Settesoli in the province of Agrigento. It's the Mandrarossa finest pinot grigio, called "Jummare", which are the names of the small palm trees that surround the soil where this cultivar (variety) grows, in the village of Menfi.

This wine has a bright straw-yellow colour and has intense aromas of cytrus fruits with delicate notes of green apple on the nose, while on the palate is crisp, dry and fresh with sweet spicy notes.

Perfect with delicate fish recipes and also with grilled vegetables, it is one of the most enjoyable white wine I have ever had. Enjoy!

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