I'm obsessed with antipasti for dinner.
What's not to love serving up a smorgasboard of delicious small bites like bruschetta, cheeses, fig jam, marcona almonds, mortadella, crusty breads with some hot antipasti like these delicious fish and potato balls from Rome.
On the surface, these are just potato and tuna mixed up together, aren't they?
Not quite! it's the creaminess of the ricotta, the refreshing scent of lemon zest and the wonderful flavor of marjoram. This one's a classic from the Roman fry shops, only I can enjoy them in my kitchen in the US of A. You won't be able to get enough of them.
And the best thing is to make a large batch, serve them as-is with some lemon zest or toss them with some garlic and pasta for a whole meal or with marinara for yet another great way to jazz up left over fritters.
Also, you know I'd tell you if you needed to make fresh breadcrumbs. Nope, the boxed version works just fine. Because it really isn't really about the breading at all.
The magic is all inside.
Delicious Antipasti Tuna & Ricotta Fritters
2 large (approx. 2 pounds) Russet potatoes
2 qty 7 oz. cans Albacore tuna or Italian tuna packed in olive oil
1 cup fresh ricotta
1 bunch marjoram (to yield 2 tbsp. leaves only)
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup Italian parsley leaves
1-1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plain or Italian style breadcrumbs
Olive or vegetable oil, for deep-frying (for an oil depth of 1-1/2") Also, long zests of a lemon for garnish
Ricotta: Drain in a sieve to get rid of excess moisture.
Eggs: Separate the yolks from the whites. Beat the egg yolks with a fork and set aside.
Tuna: Remove from the can and completely drain away liquids. Empty the tuna into the mixing bowl and break chunks with a fork.
Parsley: Separate the leaves from the stalks and finely chop. Empty into the above mixing bowl.
Marjoram: Separate the leaves from the stalks and finely chop. Add along with the parsley.
Halve the potatoes to hasten cooking time. Add enough water so it completely immerses the potatoes. Add 1/2 tbsp. salt to the water and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid allowing the steam to escape and cook for about 30 minutes or so until a fork easily pierces the potato and the potatoes are mashably soft.
Run cold water through the potatoes, peel and drain all the water away in a sieve. Rest in sieve for 5-10 minutes to makes sure all excess water has drained away. Remove to a clean large mixing bowl and once potatoes are still warm, use a vegetable grater to grate the potatoes and get rid of lumps.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the tuna, egg yolks & the ricotta. Using a Microplane zester, zest the lemon directly into the bowl. Add the chopped herbs, salt and pepper and combine all the above ingredients using a rubber spatula.
Add the above mixture to the potatoes and thoroughly combine with clean hands, massaging the ingredients together. Using a 1 tbsp. measuring spoon, measure 2 tbsp. filling at a time and roll into a ball.
Place on a 11" x 17" baking tray or jelly roll pan. Continue until all the filling is used up and the fritters are lined up in rows.
Set up near the stove:
Line a platter with double layer kitchen paper towels. Using a fork or a hand-mixer, beat the egg whites.
Set up separate bowls, one with the flour and another breadcrumbs. Line up the bowls in this order: flour, then egg whites and lastly the breadcrumbs.
On medium-high heat, in a deep frying pan, heat the oil. Have a metal slotted spoon handy.
The oil is hot once it reaches 370 deg. F on a candy thermometer or once you drop a bread crumb in the oil, it immediately sizzles and floats to the top.
Roll one ball at a time into the flour, then the egg whites and in the bread crumbs. Place in the slotted spoon and gently lower into the hot oil.
Keep going a 3-4 at a time making sure you turn the fritters in the hot oil for even browning. Once a golden brown, remove to the paper lined platter. Repeat until all the fritters are fried. Serve hot or at room temperature garnished with lemon zest.
Make it a meal: Toss with cooked pasta sautéed in olive oil, garlic and tossed with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.