When asked to bring something to a friend’s house for a dinner or a a party, I almost always volunteer to bring an hors d’oeuvres or two. Maybe it’s having a repertoire from my years as a caterer or maybe it’s because I personally love little morsels of food. I enjoy going into my cupboards to see what I have on hand and trying to come up with a little something to nibble on with drinks.
When I wrote about my dinner plans for my weekend guests I was uncertain to what I would make for our appetizers. I did make tapenade which takes all of about 3 minutes (if you have pitted olives in your pantry). Just swirl around in your food processor (I use a mini prep for this) some pitted olives, a clove of garlic, a spoonful of capers, a little tomato paste and either a few anchovies (or anchovy paste) and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil and you have tapenade.
I knew I would be serving the tapenade with crostini and it came to me that a chicken liver spread might also be great to have. Once you purchase the livers, this is also something that takes under 10 minutes to make. I like to serve it warmed up a little. Then I remembered about the leftover risotto in the fridge and I knew I there was one more thing I had to prepare-suppli di telefono-a fried risotto ball stuffed with mozzarella.
In the past I rarely made anything that had to be deep fried. It seemed so messy and I really wasn’t that good at it. Turns out that my mistake was in not getting the oil hot enough. Now I use a candy thermometer to ensure that the oil reaches about 350 degrees before I put anything in to fry. With the oil at this temp the food will cook quickly, the coating will be crispy and most importantly, it won’t be oily at all.
Suppli di Telefono
Risotto- basic recipe that you make the day before and refrigerate
3 eggs beaten with a little water
1 cup flour
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup diced fresh mozzarella
Canola oil or olive oil for frying
With wet hands place about 2 tablespoons cold rice in your hands. Place a piece of mozzarella in the middle and form a small ball, ensuring that the cheese is covered with rice. When you’ve used all the rice and cheese, roll each ball first in flour, then in egg and finally in bread crumbs. Heat oil to 350 degrees in a deep, heavy pan. Fry rice fritters in batches, turning over once or twice (you don’t want to crowd the pan) for just a few minutes. If your oil is hot enough, they will cook in just a few minutes. Place cooked fritters in a warm oven while you finish the others and then serve immediately.
You can form the rice balls earlier in the day and keep refrigerated until you’re ready to fry them. Be careful-these are addictive!