Fried Stuffed Britches: Cazuncielli
- 1/4 cup light red or white wine, such as Fiano del Avellino
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 ounces fresh yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 head escarole, about 1/2 pound, cut into 1/4-inch chiffonaded
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 salt packed anchovies, filleted and rinsed twice
- 1 cup Gaeta olives, pitted and left whole
- 3 tablespoons capers, smallest available, rinsed
- 4 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons dried currants
- 4 cups olive oil, for frying
For the crust: In a large bowl, combine wine, water, and yeast and stir until dissolved. Add the honey, salt, and olive oil and mix thoroughly. Add 1 cup of flour and mix with a wooden spoon until it becomes a loose batter. Add 2 more cups of flour and stir with the spoon for another 2 to 3 minutes, to incorporate as much of the flour as possible.
Bring the dough together with your hands and turn it out onto a floured board or marble surface. Knead for about 6 to 8 minutes, until you have made a firm, smooth dough. Place it in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a towel. Let it rise in the warmest part of the kitchen for 45 minutes.
For the filling: Bring 4 quarts of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Plunge the escarole into the water and cook 12 to 14 minutes, until very tender. Remove, refresh with cold water, and press intensely to remove all possible water. Set aside.
In a 10 to 12-inch saute pan, heat oil until smoking. Add garlic and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until light golden brown. Add the anchovies, olives, capers, pine nuts, currants and cooked escarole and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until all ingredients are well mixed and escarole has started to turn brownish-gray. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Remove a golf ball-sized piece of dough from the batch. Press the ball with your fingers to form a circle about 5 inches across. Repeat this process with all of the dough. Place 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each dough circle and fold into half moons, pressing with the tines of a fork around all the edges to close the well.
In a high-sided frying pan, heat the oil to 375 degrees F. Drop 2 or 3 half moons into the oil at a time and cook until golden brown on both sides. Remove to drain on paper towels and season immediately with freshly ground pepper.