Fried Mixed Fish
From Sicily: The Cookbook by Melissa Muller, Rizzoli New York, 2017. © Photography by Sara Remington. Reprinted with permission.
- Servings: 4.
In her introduction to the recipe for this classic Sicilian dish from her book, Sicily: The Cookbook, Melissa Muller wrote:
"Although fritto misto is prepared all over Italy, it is a classic Sicilian preparation made with a wide range of small fish, shellfish, and mollusks. This is a perfect summer dish to eat on your patio, as it tends to be messy. Be ready to use your fingers.
The key to a stellar fish fry is trifold: First, procure the freshest seafood possible. Second, use hard-wheat re-milled semola flour to lightly dredge the seafood (as opposed to soft-wheat white flour), which adds a nice crunchy texture. Lastly, make sure that the oil has reached 350º F before frying. This ensures that the seafood cooks quickly and doesn’t get soggy. Some cooks also cut zucchini into little matchstick shapes and serve them, breaded and fried, along with the seafood. If you’re using white bait, which are small, young fish with tender bones, leave the heads attached and the bones in."
- Olive oil or vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 pound mixed seafood: squid (cleaned and cut into small segments), shrimp (with their shells on), and/or white bait
- 1 cup hard-wheat re-milled semola flour*
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Fill a heavy-bottomed pot or a deep fryer about two-thirds full with oil, making sure not to overfill or the hot oil might overflow when the seafood is added. Over medium to high heat, preheat to 350ºF.
- Meanwhile, dredge the seafood (keeping each type of seafood separate) in the flour, then transfer to a dry strainer or colander and sift the seafood back and forth to remove any excess flour. A key to a good fish fry is not to use too much flour.
- When the oil reaches 350º F, fry each type of seafood separately, in batches, until the coating turns golden in color and the seafood is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Quickly remove from the oil and place in a bowl lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Salt the fish to taste and toss well. Serve immediately with lemon wedges for drizzling.
* In the U.S., look for semolina flour which is the same thing as semola flour. Bob's Red Mill is a good brand.