One of my favorite early memories of Rome is a food and wine festival hosted by the kosher catering company Le Bon Ton. Members of the city’s Jewish community showed up in droves, dressed to the nines and ready to toast each other and then enjoy a second or third meal at the bountiful food tables. Of everything I ate that afternoon, my favorite was the breaded, fried vegetables, served hot and crispy from the deep fryer in brown paper bags for easy (and stylish!) snacking.
Mixed fried vegetables (and sometimes fish), commonly known as fritto misto, are popular with all Romans, but the method of deep-frying originally comes from Roman-Jewish cuisine. Roman Jews call the dish pezzetti fritti (literally “fried pieces”) and they fry everything from zucchini and mushrooms to onions, potatoes, cauliflower, sliced artichokes and parsnips. Feel free to play with other vegetables when preparing them at home. Roman doughs are generally quite thick and completely cover the contents. My version is a little lighter, but still coats the ingredients well. Serve the fried vegetables piping hot, with lemon wedges for squeezing alongside.