THE PYTHON OF MESSINA IS NOT A SERPENT BUT A BIG FOOT!
THE PYTHON OF MESSINA IS NOT A SERPENT BUT A BIG FOOT!
Photo Source: Antonino Rampulla
Like the traditional focaccia , the < em> pitone is a typically Messina delicacy. Unlike the arancino/a which with alternating fortune is You can taste it in every corner of Sicily (taking duly into account that each province proposes its own version and a specific ending), the python can be tasted almost exclusively near the Strait City.
pitoni-pidoni-piduna-messinesi.jpg
Of popular origin, like the vast majority of traditional dishes, the python is similar to a calzone fried with unleavened dough . The name, widespread among most of Messina and in the rotisseries of the city, is a distortion of the dialectal piduni which means piedone, since its shape would remind of a big foot.
pitone-pidone-piduni-messinese.jpg
The common recipe involves the use of lard , necessary to give softness to the unleavened dough. Precisely because of this characteristic, that is the elimination of long leavening times, its preparation is very rapid . Traditionally seasoned with the same ingredients used for focaccia tomato, tuma , escarole and anchovies in oil, in the rotisseries of Messina the traditional python however, it is often offered without tomatoes.
pitone-pidone-piduni-messinese.jpg
THE DOUGH

To obtain 5-6 "nonnically" abundant dough, mix 600 grams of soft wheat flour 00 (in any case a weak flour, since it does not matter to let it rise), with 200 grams of mineral water, 100 grams of sparkling white wine (a good brut sparkling wine or a prosecco are ideal), 10 grams of sugar, 10 grams of salt and 20 grams of extra virgin olive oil (which I use instead of lard). I let the dough rest for the time necessary to prepare the ingredients for the seasoning.
The dough hydration must therefore be about 50%: if you exceed this threshold too much you risk breaking the dough during frying. If the taste of the wine does not like very much (I "exaggerate" precisely because of the opposite reason ...) its quantity can be reduced by increasing that of the water, so as not to vary the hydration ratio.

THE "FORM"

Unlike what I would do with a properly leavened dough, barbarously and vigorously spread the dough with a rolling pin, trying to obtain a fairly thin weight. Then I cut the round portions of dough (using a plate as a stencil) which I will then season and close exactly as if they were trousers . I replenish the surplus dough from the cutout of the portions and repeat the spreading operation until I run out of the whole mixture.

THE "FARCITURA"

The traditional condiment is, as we have said, typical of the traditional Messina focaccia: that is to say scarola, pomodoro, tuma (unripened pecorino cheese) and anchovies in oil. The advice I give you is to oil and season lightly tomato and escarole before stuffing the python, so as to introduce only the necessary oil and a little well-distributed salt, and above all not to overdo the anchovies (whose flavor could cover the rest of the most delicate flavors)

FRYING

Immersion friggo, strictly in peanut oil (readily available in supermarkets, which features a smoke point over 220 degrees and an almost neutral flavor), at a temperature of 185-190 degrees , if with fryer. In a pan or saucepan I push myself up to 200-210 degrees, because dipping the python, the oil temperature instantly drops by 20 degrees (the fryer keeps the temperature more constant). The pythons are ready when ... they look like those in the photos! And with good peace de bon ton, enjoy your meal!
Text Source: Antonino Rampulla
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