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Perfect match: prosecco and fennel crostoli


You'll need

2 tsp fennel seeds 230 gm plain flour 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 60 ml Pernod or white wine 1 egg, beaten For deep-frying: vegetable oil To serve: thinly sliced prosciutto

Method

  • 01
  • Stir fennel seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat and cook until golden and fragrant (3-5 minutes), then pound in mortar and pestle until finely ground.
  • 02
  • Sift flour into a bowl, add ground fennel, 2 tsp sea salt and combined olive oil, Pernod and egg, stirring until dough starts to come together. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface, knead until smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • 03
  • Cut dough into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time (keep remaining dough covered and refrigerated), lightly flour dough and roll out. Using a pasta machine with rollers at the widest setting, feed dough through rollers. Fold in half lengthways, feed through rollers again, repeating until smooth, then reduce settings notch by notch, feeding and rolling until 2mm thick (about second-last notch). Cut into 2cm-wide strips, place on a lightly floured tray and cover with a tea towel. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • 04
  • Heat oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180C. Deep-fry dough strips in batches until crisp and golden (2-3 minutes), drain on absorbent paper, then season liberally with sea salt. Serve warm or at room temperature with prosciutto.

Note This recipe makes about 60 crostoli.


Picture the scene. Venice. Late afternoon in late summer. A hard day's sight-seeing over. You've had your fill of cathedrals, piazzas, seafood lunches, bridges, galleries, canals, gondolas (and gondoliers), and you just feel like winding down. So you find a little bàcaro, a friendly-looking wine bar down a narrow side street, take a seat and ask for a glass of prosecco, the soft, lemony local sparkling white wine. Almost immediately you'll be presented with a few cicchetti: bar snacks to us, a way of life to the Venetians - small, salty, savoury morsels like these fennel crostoli, designed to match the drinks and fill the gap before dinner. And if you really want to relive the authentic bàcaro experience, add a healthy slug of Campari or Aperol, ice cubes (and a splash of mineral water) to your prosecco to make a Spritz cocktail, or some white peach pulp for a Bellini. - MAX ALLEN


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Jan 2009

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