Mitilugghia (Sicilian Fried Bread)
Mitilugghia (or matalugghia, pronounced ma-ta-lu-dja) is a kind of yeasted fried bread, seasoned with dried herbs, olive oil and salt. It’s a Sicilian bread, typical of my province - Ragusa - though with all likelihood brought to Sicily by the Arabs, as it resembles the Arabic flat bread.
It’s not the kind of bread we eat every day. Our mothers would normally make it to use up any leftover dough from bread making. They would just flatten the dough, fry it in a pan with olive oil and season it with a very generous amount of dried oregano and salt. The making of this bread would always cause excitement as, in its simplicity, it would be so fancy and absolutely delicious.
Over time, this bread has become so popular to have its own festival, or "sagra" as we call it, in the small town of Acate.
Ingredients (for 4)
600g durum flour (finely ground semolina)
12g fresh yeast (or about 4g of dried yeast)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp olive oil (1 to knead the dough, and 4 to fry it)
Dried oregano and salt, to taste
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water and wait until it becomes frothy. Transfer to a large bowl and add the sifted flour, the oil and salt. Start kneading and when it comes together, transfer to a table dusted with flour and keep kneading until you obtain a smooth, stiff dough.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for 1 to 2 hours (depending on the temperature) until doubled in volume.
Cut into equal sized parts and shape each into a disc of a couple of mm thickness - flattening it with your hands.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan and when it’s hot, add the dough and fry on both sides until slightly browned and bubbles have formed on top. Drain the excess oil on kitchen paper and sprinkle a generous amount of dried oregano and a little salt.
Enjoy while still piping hot, with a side of pickled olives, cheese or simply on its own.
Word of the Day
(Generic term to indicate yeast, but also baking powder, sourdough or any leavening agent, pronounced liè·vi·to)