Roba Fritta

Mixed Fry

Deep-frying is an old Roman Jewish tradition. In the past cooks known as friggitori sold crisp, piping-hot vegetables from street stands. Today, most of the restaurants in the ghetto offer some form of fritto misto. Rice croquettes and little deep-fried ovolini of fresh mozzarella, apples, even pieces of soaked salt cod, are sometimes added to this vegetable mélange. Serve with lemon wedges to cut the richness.

Ingredients

For the Vegetables

  • 3 zucchini, sliced or cut into batons, salted, drained for 30 minutes, rinsed, and dried
  • 3 artichokes, pared to the heart, sliced or quartered, and placed in lemon water until needed
  • 1 eggplant, peeled, sliced, salted, drained for 30 minutes, rinsed and dried
  • 1 or 2 parsnips, peeled and sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small head broccoli, trimmed into florets
  • 1 small cauliflower, trimmed into florets
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced and soaked in cold water for 30 minutes to sweeten

For the Batter

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • About 3 cups water
  • Vegetable or olive oil for deep-frying

Method

Prepare all the vegetables as directed and set aside.

To make the batter, in a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, olive oil, vinegar, and enough water to make a smooth, dense batter.

In a deep-fat fryer, deep frying pan, wok, or saucepan, pour in oil to a depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil to 375 degrees F. In batches, dip the vegetables (reserve the onions) into the batter and slip into the oil. Do not crowd the pan or the oil temperature will drop and the vegetables will absorb the oil. Fry, turning as needed, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain, then keep warm on a warmed platter in an oven preheated to 200 degrees F. Fry the onions last and scatter the slices over the top. Serve hot with the lemon wedges.