My visit to Parma and the Festival of Parma Ham was sponsored by the Parma Ham Consortium. This is the second of two posts on Parma ham. The first was a post on the Festival of Parma Ham in Parma, which I visited recently.
Italy is one of my most visited countries and I make a lot of Italian food at home. Yet my first bite of gnocco fritto was not in Italy nor my tiny frenetic home kitchen, it was in Toronto (more than a few) years back. I was at a restaurant that I have come to love over several visits, Buca. The first time was one of my meandering solo lunches that I indulge in when I travel (and often at home). The menu was bright and interesting, my eyes were drawn to the pasta but also to the gnocco fritto, which were served at the time with an excellent house cured lardo.
Thus sparked an obsession. I seek gnocco fritto out wherever I can and I make them at home. Gnocco Fritto simply translates as fried dumpling. They are a simple yeasted hollow bread that is fried not baked, traditionally in lard but oil will do. The dough is allowed to rise, pummelled and then rolled flat before being cut into rectangles which puff into glorious crisp pillows when fried that are hollow inside (apart from your expectation and some glorious sweet doughy air).