There’s a certain aroma and taste to our comfort foods that makes us feel safe. Loved. Part of something. Makes us feel OK. We all have our own comfort foods that give us these needs and they help us when we are happy or sad. Food has that astonishing quality for us. When I think of comfort foods i think of many but the foods of my youth are the ones that work best. ItalianAmericanism means you will have a fair share of things fried in breadcrumbs regardless of what part of Italy your family originally came from. I’m postitive that my DNA craves fried or toasted breadcrumbs on a regular basis. Certainly we can’t eat fried foods all the time but as a party food, a starter, a side the dish we will discuss in this post is one of the best in show. BROCCOLI. Specifically Breaded Fried Broccoli ItalianAmerican style. Plenty of ways to fry up delicious cooked broccoli. The way it was most served up was dipped in flour, then into eggs beaten with Locatelli Pecorino Romano, then into Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs (Mom used the 4C Brand, and once in a while Colonna or Progresso. Store sales dictated the purchases.) and then fried till golden on all sides. Simple. But they are a 5 star dish with all that flavor and you finish them with a squeeze of Lemon and maybe a sprinkle of peperoncino and more Pecorino. Can you use Parmigiano-Reggiano? of course. It’s just a more subtle taste. I only think they can substitute for each other because they are both Italian Grating cheeses. I don’t think they taste even closely similar and I use them in different applications. But that’s just me and my foodcentric OCD at work. When Mom made this it generally was a “next day” dish using Leftover broccoli. I’d advise that as well. Steam the Broccoli on Monday. Make the Fritti on Tuesday. Or let them fully cool after steaming and then use but they seem to turn out just right when the broccoli is leftover.
For Broccoli Fritti for 4
- about 2 lbs of cooked, steamed, cooled or leftover Broccoli Florets
- 3 eggs beated with 1/2 cup Grated Pecorino Romano
- Black pepper
- 1 cup seasoned and sifted all-purpose flour
- 3 cups Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs to which you add 1/4 cup of grated pecorino
- Olive Oil or Corn Oil for frying
- 2 lemons, quartered, for serving
- Let’s start cooking the broccoli!!! Simply dust/dredge the cooked broccoli in the flour, dip into the beated eggs, then coat completely with the breadcrumb mixture. When this is done place in the fridge for 1/2 hr- 45 minutes. Get a large cast iron or heavy frying pan, filled 1/4 inch with the oil. When a small cube of bread sizzles and browns in it, your oil is ready. Remove the Broccoli from the fridge. and without crowding add the broccoli to the pan (GENTLY GENTLY ) or as they say in Italian.. Piano Piano!! and since the broccoli is already cooked, once one side is nicely browned, turn and do the same. Don’t overcook….burnt breadcrumbs will ruin and dish and foul the oil. Remove to paper towels on trays to drain. Add more oil if necessary and remember to always LET IT COME BACK TO FRYING TEMPERATURE before you add the next batch… Cook these in batches. When complete sprinkle the broccoli fritti with a little salt, pecorino and lemon juice and wedges. Great for parties too because you can cook them ahead of time and either serve at room temperature or gently reheating in the oven. Thanks for letting me into your kitchens as it’s my honor to share my recipes with you. HAPPY COOKING!!!