What is La Frisella Pugliese?
By Silvia Costantino
Today’s dish comes right from the southern tradition.
You will probably find it quite similar to Panzanella salad, but that’s just the way it works with tradition – people used to prepare their meals with what they had, and, very often, that was just old bread, vegetables, and olive oil.
So, let’s go south and enjoy the very typical lunch of Puglia (and Basilicata, and Campania): La Frisella Pugliese. (Also called fresella, or frisa, or fresa…it depends on where you are!)
There is actually more than one way to prepare it as well!
What is Frisella?
A Frisella is a large, round piece of dry, baked durum wheat flour, often with a hole in the center. It may be thick or thin, depending on where you are.
Frisella is a tough thing to eat on its own. In fact, it is commonly considered sort of an edible plate, to cover with food. You know when people say they’re so hungry they might as well eat the plate? Yes, that’s the case here!
Ingredients You’ll Need
For this Frisella recipe, you can choose to make one or two Frisella per person. It just depends on how hungry you are, how big the pieces are, and how thick the bread is. Let’s say you will pick two medium-sized Frisella.
Here is what you will need to prepare it:
-6 small red tomatoes (3 for each piece of bread)
-Oregano or basil
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
That’s all you need for a proper Frisella! Now, you can choose two ways of preparing it.
Preparation Method 1
Chop the tomatoes, mix them with a bit of garlic, olive oil, and salt, and then cover the bread with the mix – like it’s a bruschetta. Cover with a pinch of pepper and oregano as well.
This first method is more polite, tidy, and elegant. You can either serve the Frisella fully ready or let the guests season it as they want.
Preparation Method 2
Cut the tomatoes in two and rub them directly on the bread until it becomes red, then pour the salt, the pepper, and the oil (in this exact order), and rub again – with your finger! Oregano comes last. If you like them, you might also leave the tomato skin on it and eat them with everything else.
The second method is a bit more rural, but it’s a real pleasure. So, if you’re comfortable at home, alone, or with close friends, you really should try it once!
Before doing all that, remember to wet the Frisella! Unless you have very strong teeth, it’s highly recommended to plunge the Frisella quickly into cold water – under the sink or in a bowl – before seasoning. They absorb the liquids very fast, so it’s a matter of seconds.
How to Enjoy Frisella
You can eat a Frisella alone since it’s just like a bowl of pasta. But no one will give you a second glance if you eat some salad (fennel and orange salad, onion salad, or just regular salad, with it). You can also enjoy cheeses with your Frisella, too. In Puglia, it’s common to have the Cacioricotta cheese, but you can also go multicultural and try Feta cheese, or olives.
We’ve provided you with the basics, and now it’s up to you to create a masterpiece to your liking – that’s the best of tradition!
Enjoy your southern dinner! Buon Appetito!
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