Terra di Toscana www.terraditoscana.com

Gnocco Fritto

This sublimely simple appetizer is from the kitchen of Laura Galli at Hosteria Giusti in Modena. Thinly sliced prosciutto, pancetta, or culatello are placed on top of these deep-fried pieces of dough while they are still warm; they will practically melt in your mouth.

1/2 ounce ( 10 grams) cake yeast (or 2 teaspoons dry yeast)
1/4 cup warm water ( 105°F to 115°F)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
About 1 teaspoon carbonated mineral water
Olive oil for deep-frying
12 slices prosciutto di Parma, pancetta, and/or culatello di Zibello

In a small bowl, combine the yeast and the warm water and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Mound the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, butter, and enough mineral water to produce a soft dough. Knead until smooth.
Put the dough in a medium bowl and cut an X on top. Cover and let rise for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out to a 1/4-inch thickness. With a knife, cut the dough into 2-inch-wide diamonds.

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat 3 inches of oil over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the dough pieces a few at a time. Fry, turning once, for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Using a wire skimmer, transfer to paper towels to drain. Place in a low oven to keep warm while frying the remaining pieces. Place the gnocco on a platter, drape with the desired meats, and serve warm.
Makes 12

Picture by Joyce Dudkerk-Pool


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