One of the best moments from my recent trip to Italy was exploring the Bacari in Venice and sampling the bar bites known as Cicchetti, Italy's version of tapas. My family and I basically stick out as tourists and can be spotted from a mile away. As we piled into these hole in the wall spots down the side alleys of Venice in the pouring rain we would first get interesting looks from the waiter/bartender/food preparer. Once he could tell that we sort of knew what we were doing with little things like ordering wine as "ombra" instead of asking for house red, everyone relaxed a bit. In the Venice bacari, ombra means a small glass of local wine. Once we got settled with our wine and dried off a bit, it was time to get to the food. All of the small bites would be lined up behind a glass case and it was easy to point at what we wanted. Little bit of this, couple of these, maybe one or 2 of the weird looking one, and we were ready to eat! We went to 3 or 4 bacari during our time in Venice, some more traditional, and others more modern, and we sampled tons of Cicchetti, most of which I hope to recreate for posts in the coming months.
I made these mortadella fritters because I had lots of homemade mortadella leftover from my party last week.
Mix the mortadella with some cheese, an egg, and a splash of milk.
Then add the roasted potatoes and mix it up.
Pan fry the fritters in olive oil until browned on both sides.
These fritters are so tasty! When we ate them in Venice it was at a late night bacari which is actually not common as they are traditionally more of an afternoon activity. We all expected the fritters to be potato only, like one we ate earlier in the day, but were pleasantly surprised by the familiar delicious mortadella taste.
So soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside, with just enough cheese and that nice pork flavor.
1/2 pound sliced mortadella
2 yukon gold potatoes
1 cup fontina cheese
Splash of milk
Salt, Pepper, breadcrumbs, olive oil
Roast the potatoes (with salt and olive oil) for about an hour and a half until tender. Peel and rough chop them and put them into the fridge for about a half hour to cool. Meanwhile grate the cheese and dice up the mortadella. Mix the mortadella, cheese, egg, and milk in a mixing bowl. Add the potatoes and stir together to gently mash the potatoes and mix everything together well. Season with salt and pepper and add another splash of milk if it feels too thick. Form patties and coat with breadcrumbs. Pan fry in olive oil(enough to come about halfway up the patties), flipping once during frying to brown both sides. Serve hot. You can make these ahead of time, just reheat in the oven or toaster oven and they will still be crispy and delicious.