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9/26/2011

AN ANCIENT FARMER’S RITE: PIEMONTE’S MIXED FRY


The origins of this dish are so distant that they are almost untraceable, since the Middle Ages, a time when collective feasts and banquets marked the passage of the seasons, to propitiate and celebrate the produces of the land of farmers and ranchers.


In the mixed fry we find different ingredients including meat, fruit and vegetables, all well combined in an ancient  and original plate. 

A treasure of sweet and savory golden nuggets, 
breaded and fried in olive oil.



The recipe that join the genuine soul of Piemonte’s people and the Baroque taste of food, made ​​of simple ingredients but with strong and characteristic tastes, considering also the high nutritional value, according to the traditional local cuisine.
It's the example that best illustrates 
the golden rule of our great chefs:

in the kitchen do not throw anything away.
The birth of this fry is linked to the archaic time of slaughter.
In the Middle Ages one should not waste anything of the animal, and each family then proceeded with the subdivision of every part of it, even the most perishable 
 like kidneys, sweetbreads, testicles, brain, liver (fricassà neira) and lungs (fricassà bianca). 
To these were added small pieces of meat, chunks of ham, loin and slices of black pudding.

To complete the work came the vegetables: apple slices and sweet semolina (polenta dolce).

All was meticulously cut into small pieces, cooked and served in a great lunch of celebration following the day of slaughter.

Considered one of the best ancient dishes of Piemonte’s kitchen, the  mixed fry is the only one in Italy, to join sweet and savory foods in such great variety, 
matching typical  of Renaissance cuisine.  
Every area of Piemonte, in time, 
it has developed a personal recipe.



 
In ancient cookbook  "The Piemontese chef", there are at least 15 different variants, mostly sweet, with the addition of lime water, candied fruit and, custom now in oblivion, a grape leaf to wrap the dish.
Suppose we want to prepare the mixed fry for a day of celebration, as our ancestors used to do.

ANCIENT MIXED FRY OF ASTI



Ingredients (serves 6): 
6 slices of calf's lung, 3 hectograms of minced veal or beef, 6 slices of veal liver, veal steaks, 6, 2 pork brains, 10 pieces of sausage, 3 hectograms of carrots, 6 soft macaroons, 2 hectograms of sugar, 2 hectograms of semolina flour, 4 eggs, one lemon, bread crumbs, a half liter of milk, salt, olive oil, flour.
Preparation: 
The sweet semolina is prepared the night before lunch.

Bring to boil the milk with sugar and lemon rind, add the semolina flour stirring constantly to rain stir the mix.  
Then pour into a pan and let stand overnight.



The next morning boil carrots and brains for a few minutes and drain.

Cut all the meat (the brains too) into slices, diced semolina, carrots into strips.

Prepare the meatballs separately with the ground beef, beaten eggs and breadcrumbs.

Flour the liver and the macaroons.

Beat the eggs and dive all the ingredients into the eggs:

 amarettos, meatballs, lungs, brains, liver, carrots, sweet semolina. 
Then drain well and plunge them in the breadcrumbs.

Bring to the point of frying oil in different pans of iron and dive into the ingredients, separating the sweet from salty.

Serve the dish hot, accompanied by a slice of lemon or a green sauce.




Here’s a variant, to prepare a truly great family meal 
on a holiday.

MIXED FRY OF MONFERRATO LANDS


Ingredients for 12 persons
600 grams of veal liver, 400 grams of small sausage, 2 calf brains, one spleen, 1 kg of apples, 1 cauliflower, 12 sprigs of sage, 12 zucchini flowers, 12 pieces of sweet semolina (see recipe above), 12 macaroons, 3 eggs, milk, 200 grams of flour, 200 grams of bread crumbs, 1 small glass of Marsala wine, 1 glass of dry white wine, salt, 1 lemon, 3 liters of extra virgin olive oil or 3 kg of lard. 



Preparation:

For the batter to dive into the cauliflower, sage, apple slices and zucchini flowers:

mix eggs, flour, milk or white wine.

Add, if you like a splash of Marsala, lemon zest and spices to taste.

The cubes of sweet semolina, the brains and spleens (previously boiled) and everything else you must go into flour, then egg and finally in breadcrumbs.

The macaroons are softened by spraying with a little 'of Marsala and then put them in flour, eggs and breadcrumbs like meat.

All the ingredients are fried, the sweet first and then the salty, in hot oil in frying pan.

Liver sausage is browned flour and separately.

Add salt after cooking.

The dish is served hot with a slice of lemon.



There are many modern variations of the recipe, the result of invention and ingenuity of “brave cooks”.

You can find many added ingredients: rack of lamb, breast of chicken, rabbit liver, kidney, meat balls mixed (red and white), eggplant, mushrooms, zucchini, fennel, artichokes and broad beans. Among the surprises of golden fry you may also find pineapple, grapes, special cookies stuffed with chocolate, sweet semolina cocoa flavoured, and who knows what else. 



The secret of the chef is the combination of the right amounts for each ingredient.

But the alchemy of the fry is a fundamental task: the pan must be made ​​of iron and oil, plenty of boiling, it should be changed often.

 Only this way we’ll taste a mixed fry of golden, delicious, light and harmonious flavors.




 
Generally this is considered a main dish, combined with an outline based on polenta or spinachs and carrots in butter, but you may also like dish with sausage and cheese came strictly from Piemonte.
The recommended wines are the reds with complex flavors:  
Barbera, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbaresco, Barolo or Freisa.





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