Autumn Fritto Misto
Antonio Ciminelli prepares this starter year-round with whatever produce is in season. In the fall, that means apples, mushrooms and late-harvest zucchini, fried in a batter made extra-light and crisp by adding sparkling wine and whipped egg white. The fritto misto is best eaten hot from the pan, perhaps served in a paper cone.
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- 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch-thick sticks
- 3/4 cold club soda
- 1 1/2 all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg white
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 red apple, cored and cut into thin rounds or 1/2-inch-thick sticks
- 1/2 cold sparkling white wine, such as Prosecco
- 1 pound head of cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
- 1/2 cremini mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps halved
- Set a steamer basket over 1/2 inch of water in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Add the cauliflower, cover and steam over moderately high heat until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Transfer the cauliflower to a plate and pat dry.
- In a large saucepan, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 400°. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the club soda and sparkling wine and whisk until the batter is smooth. In a medium stainless steel bowl, beat the egg white until firm peaks form. Fold the egg white into the batter.
- Working in batches, dip the cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms and apple in the batter, letting any excess batter drip back into the bowl; add to the hot oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritto misto to the paper towels and season with salt. Serve right away.
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