We discover that the secret to perfect fritto misto, an Italian appetizer of golden brown, perfectly fried vegetables, is in a light, airy batter. And the secret to a light, airy batter is sold by the dozen.
Why This Recipe Works
After some experimenting, we determined that different vegetables in our fritto misto recipe required different preparation: Firm, dense vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower, and fennel, needed to be precooked before battering and frying because the short frying time was insufficient to fully cook the vegetables. Eggplant, however, needed to be salted and pressed so that its cell structure would collapse and the vegetable wouldn’t absorb excessive amounts of oil during frying. Our favorite batter was made with beaten egg whites folded into cornstarch and flour just before frying—it was light and delicate, with a clean flavor.