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Ficattola, the Tuscan-Romagnolo fried bread

Ficattola, the Tuscan-Romagnolo fried bread

Ficattola is a kind of Tuscan-Romagnolo fried bread.

The dough is neutral and goes well with both cured meats and jams.

The fried bread called ficattola originated in the Mugello area bordering Romagna and its name seems to refer to the figs that once were mixed into the dough.

My father’s family originates from those villages in the Romagna Apennines that look towards Tuscany.

Although our paternal grandmother did not pass on many recipes to us, something remained. For instance, small masterpieces from mountain peasant cuisine such as castagnaccio, fritters, eggs in tripe, chickpea and basil farinata, and, of course, ficattola.

Land of tales

I was recently driving along the Via Emilia towards Imola, where I was born and raised and where my family still lives.

Suddenly, I noticed a road sign: Romagna Toscana. Land of tales.

I arrived at my parent’s home, I asked:

 

Dad, do you have a story about when you were a young boy related to food?

 

What a silly question. We all have memories of family meals, favorite dishes, loving grandmothers, and happy merende. Anyway, it’s impressive to hear parents tell anecdotes of their youth. It’s funny to visualize him as a young Guzzi motorcyclist. I have only known an in-suit and tie man.

And suddenly I see him breathing air and freedom, he who during the year was studying in Bologna, a big city compared to the village where he was born and so far from home.

 

Italian cuisine

The flavors of the Montanara road

The provincial road Montanara originates close to the Adriatic Sea and, after crossing a large part of Romagna, once it arrives at Imola, it climbs towards the Romagna Apennine, which gradually turns into Tuscany. 

Its route runs alongside that of the Santerno River, and while it climbs, the river descends, whispering stories and anecdotes of the people there.

My father remembers a time, especially during the summer, when young people and vehicles, both of all kinds, would leave from the village towards the village of Firenzuola, where borders, accents, and flavors changed.

He recalls that there was the tall guy with short trousers and the short guy with baggy clothes; there was a car, a few small motorbikes, and even bicycles because, in those days, it was usual to travel kilometers on the bike. The soles of the shoes wore out sooner than the breath, happy youth. My father was very proud of his uncle’s Guzzi.

 

Ficattola, the Tuscan-Romagnolo fried bread

About farmyards and merenda

Young people went towards Firenzuola and its hamlets for daily trips. 

During the summer, on Sunday, before the fog and the rigors of winter turned off the sun, young people met to dance in the farmyards of farms.

At that time, before dancing with a girl, the boy had to ask permission from the mother. No one girl went to dance alone. 

During those dance afternoons, there was also the merenda. 

There was almost always the ficattola, hot, which was eaten with charcuterie or without anything or sprinkled with sugar.

This Tuscan fried bread is so good that a little at a time, like the Santerno river, it has gone down the Via Montanara as far as Imola, where you can buy a piece of it at the stalls where people make piadina romagnola, crescentine, and ficattola to go.

It is a chopping board recipe, usually served with cured meats, cheese, pickles, and jams. You can serve it as an appetizer, aperitif, merenda, or bread. My paternal grandmother used to save the bag of ficattola that my father would bring her to eat in the cafe latte the next day.

Buona cucina, Monica

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Tuscan Fried Bread (Ficattola) Recipe

 

Ficattola Fried Bread

Ficattola is fried bread. The recipe comes from the Tuscan Apennines and is widespread in nearby Romagna. I love to enjoy it with charcuteries and jams.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Tuscan
Keyword Fried bread
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 25 g fresh brewer's yeast
  • 50 ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 500 g all purpose flour
  • 25 g of olive oil
  • 1 g of salt
  • 1 g of sugar
  • 250 ml of warm milk or room temperature
  • 1 l of seed oil for frying

Instructions

  • Place crumbled yeast in a glass, add warm water, and dissolve while stirring. Add honey and stir to dissolve in yeast. Set aside.
  • Put the flour in a large bowl. Make a hole in the middle and add yeast dissolved in water. Sprinkle salt and sugar on the edges of the flour and drizzle olive oil.
  • Add half the milk and kneadwith your hands, then pour in gradually all the liquid. The dough should besoft and sticky. If needed, add a little of warm water.
  • Cover the dough with a teatowel, and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours or until the volume of the dough doubles.
  • Pour the seed oil into a pan and bring it up to frying temperature.
  • Test it with a toothpick. If dipping it, you see bubbles around the stick, which means that the seed oil's temperature oil is ok.
  • Grease your hands with olive oil, tear off pieces of dough, and dip them into the hot oil, frying 2-3 pieces at a time. Fry each piece for 2-3 minutes or until lightly brown. Turn the pieces of fried bread with the help of a fork.
  • Scoop out the fried bread with a slotted spoon. Place the ficattola on a plate covered with paper towels. Then, arrange them in a bowl and cover them with a dish towel to keep them warm.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Keep for a day or two out of the refrigerator.

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