Italian Regional Recipes Starters

Romanesco Broccoli Fried Balls

Romanesco Broccoli, Broccolo Romano in Italian language, is a typical kale from Lazio region, where Rome is located. It is called Romanesco just because it has been known throughout the Roman countryside for a long time. Nowadays it grows everywhere in Italy.
Its flavour is delicate, just perfect for making balls to eat as finger food, using those ingredients so dear to the Romans and Latium people, Pecorino cheese and anchovies.


Serves 2-3, Preparation 10 mins, Cooking 45-50 mins

  • 1 Romanesco broccoli
  • 50 g grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 desalted and chopped anchovy fillets
  • Alternative to anchovy fillets: Guanciale (cured pork jowl) or Pancetta (cured pork belly)
  • Breadcrumbs, to taste
  • Peanut oil for frying, at least 800 ml

Method

Broccolo Romanesco

Wash and cut the florets into chunks.

Tip: if the leaves have a good look, don’t discard them and chop those up too.

Boil florets and leaves in salted water for 20 minutes, then drain and leave to cool.

Mash them in a bowl with the fork, add the grated Pecorino Romano cheese, the egg, the desalted and chopped anchovy fillets.

Tip: if you are not a fan of anchovies, just fry guanciale or pancetta until crispy without using fat – no oil, no butter, no margarine – the add it to the mix.

Tip: Another tasty alternative is also to insert in each ball a piece of cheese, possibly that can become stringy during cooking, so Mozzarella or Asiago or Provolone. Don’t add Pecorino into chunks because it will never melt.

Start forming the balls, then put them in breadcrumbs.

If you choose to bake them in the oven, line a baking tray with baking paper and bake them at 200°C fan oven for about 20-25 minutes.

On the other hand, if you choose to fry them as we did, heat enough peanut oil, as soon as it is ready plunge them in the oil max 3 at a time just to avoid lowering the temperature of the oil, remove them as soon as they are golden, place them on a plate with paper towels, a pinch of salt and serve hot.

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