Fall Frito Misto
Prep: 50 minutes Brine: 2 hours Cook: 3-5 minutes per batch Makes: 16 servings
This recipe is from Michael “Mikey” Sheerin, executive chef of Cicchetti, a new restaurant with an opening planned for November, at 661 N. St. Clair St. The recipe makes enough for 16 small bites, or it can serve half that many people with a more substantial serving. For the Brussels sprouts, smaller pieces work best, about 1 ¾ inches in diameter. Colatura di alici, an Italian fish sauce, is difficult to find. You can substitute with another type; we used Red Boat fish sauce.
2 quarts water
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt
Juice of 2 lemons
1 pound each: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, baby artichokes
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 ounces colatura di alici
1 habanero, seeded, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup flour
1/3 cup each: cornmeal, cornstarch
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bottle (12 ounces) lager beer, such as Peroni
2 quarts frying oil
For the brine, stir water, salt and lemon juice together in a large container until salt dissolves. Clean and trim the vegetables; cutting the cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Place into lemon brine; allow to rest, 2 hours.
For the sauce, combine lemon zest and juice, fish sauce, habanero, honey and garlic in a bowl, mixing well with a whisk; set aside.
For the batter, combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl; add 1 Peroni beer a little at a time, stirring with a whisk (looking for thin consistency). Heat the oil in large pot or home fryer to 375 degrees.
Drain vegetables from brine; discarding brine. Spread on a kitchen towel. Once oil is heated to 375 and vegetables are semi-dry, add veggies to batter and mix thoroughly.
Pull vegetables from batter in batches; fry carefully, stirring the veggies every so often so they don’t stick. Remove from oil when golden brown. (They should be cooked through and crunchy.) Place on paper towels to drain for a minutes. Season with salt. Serve, drizzled with the sauce.