A simple but indulgent pleasure, I could easily eat a whole bowl of Fritto Misto with some lemon wedges and a dollop of chipotle mayonnaise on my own. You can vary the seafood to your suit your own taste, but a lovely mixture of scallops, squid, prawns, whitebait and a firm whitefish like monkfish, cod or haddock, is the best combination. The only rule: the seafood should be absolutely fresh and eaten as as soon as it comes out of the pan. Thrown together in a spicy mixture of cornflour, semolina and Old Bay seasoning, the seafood is flash fried in very hot vegetable oil for a few minutes, just until they've reached the perfect level of golden crunchiness. Served with a cold glass of Pinot Grigio, enjoy the fritto misto while it's still nice and hot. As they say in Naples, frijenno e magnanno — "fry it and eat it!"
Fritto Misto di Mare
Serves 4-6 as a first course
4 cups of vegetable oil, for frying
2 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp semolina flour
2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 lb squid, tubes and tentacles
1 lb large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 lb large scallops
1/2 lb whitebait
1/2 lb monkfish, sliced into 1" pieces
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Heat the oil in a small saucepan, and while it's warming, cut the squid into rings. Put the cornflour, semolina and Old Bay seasoning in a large freezer bag and add mixed seafood in batches, tossing to coat. When the oil is hot enough, which it when it sizzles a small piece of bread, fry the seafood in batches to get the most golden crunchiness. A couple of minutes per batch is all you need. Lay the cooked seafood on a paper towel, as you continue to fry the remainder of the misto. Serve with lemon wedges and your favourite mayonnaise. I like Mike's Chipotle Mayonnaise from the St. Lawrence Market!
COOK'S NOTE: I like to throw in some sliced lemon and parsley into the misto while it's frying, for and added taste and colour sensation!