Sicilian Fried Calzone
Sicilian fried calzone are from Southern Italy. Many homes have ovens that are fired by wood so baking calzone is expensive and inconvenient. Frying calzone in virgin olive oil produces a fluffier texture then baked calzone have. The oil lends an earthy perfume all its own.
You must experience the fried calzone for yourself. There is nothing like this fluffy donut like bread. In fact I make donuts out of the dough also!
Sicilian Fried Calzone
- 2/3 cup warm water not over 100° F 11⁄2 teaspoons yeast, dry or fresh
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups bread flour
- 15 ounce ricotta
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 8 cup wilted fresh spinach and chopped finely 2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt
- 1 cup olive oil for frying
- Put the warm water in a large mixing bowl. If the bowl is cold, warm it first by rinsing with hot water. Crumble the fresh yeast into the water or sparkle the dry yeast over the surface. Let it sit for 3 to 4 minutes and them gently whisk the water around to mix in the yeast. Add the salt and olive oil and mix again. Add the flour, mix with the liquid, and start kneading. When the dough is soft and sticky but pulls away from the sides of the bowl with fair regularity, dump it onto a surface and continue to knead it for about 12 minutes. If you are using an electric mixer, beat the dough on medium speed for about 7 minutes. The dough should have as much water in it as it will hold and still be somewhat manageable. Even if it is very sticky, do not add flour until you are convinced that further kneading and contact with more amor will not dry it. Only then start adding an occasional small veil of flour as you continue working the dough.
- When the dough is well kneaded, shiny, and smooth, clean the mixing bowl, put a little flour in the bottom of the bowl, and put the dough back in. Cover it with a clean kitchen towel, cover that with a thick, folded bath towel, and put the bowl in a warm place to proof for at least 2 hours. The dough should be a least twice the original volume. When it is, punch it down and put the covers back on, and let rise again for another 2 to 3 hours. The longer and slower the proofing, the better the bread will taste.
- Cut dough into 8 pieces. Roll them into little balls. Cover them with a towel and set them aside for later.
- Flatten out a piece of the rested ball of bread dough with fingers to a round shape, about 5 inches across. Make it about 1⁄8 inch thick.
- Place the appropriate amount of filling (equally divided by the number of pieces of dough) on half of the dough and turn over the other half to cover the filling, forming a turnover shape. Do not use so much filling that you have to stretch the dough to cover it. The stretched dough may break while cooking.
- Press the edges firmly closed with your fingers then crimp the edges. Lay each calzone on a floured towel or a cookie sheet as they are completed. Repeat the procedure with the remaining pieces of dough and the filling.
- Heat the oil to 350° degrees F. in a frying pan large enough to hold 2 of the calzone at a time. Fry the calzone gently for 5 to 6 minutes, or until they are a deep golden color, turning them once during cooking. Drain the calzone on a napkin for a moment or two, and serve them hot.
- Eat them out-of-hand or on a plate. They are good when they have cooled off, but like so many Italian dishes, they should not be eaten ice cold. Calzone eaten at room temperature or warmer are fine, and they make very good picnic fare.