Despite being in the south of France this week, I keep finding myself ordering French variations on my favourite Italian dishes: crudités à l’anchoïade is similar to bagna cauda, beignets de fleurs de courgettes are fiori di zucca (battered and deep-fried courgette blossoms), pissaladière is similar to sardenaira, nicoise salad is similar to condiggiun from Liguria and both have pasta with pesto sauce. I’ve even found the flavours of a croque madame similar to those of the pitta ripiena calabrese I ate in Calabria.
Pitta ripiena is a typical Easter dish in Calabria and is typically eaten the same day it is made. Pitta is perfect for picnics and beachside snacks as a slice can be held easily in one hand. Its salty prosciutto and salami, creamy mozzarella and nutritious egg are encased in a crisp bread shell. It is said that the pitta was made as a way to test the temperature of the wood ovens. Pitta has many variations and can also be stuffed with combinations such as tinned tuna, tomatoes, green olives, onions and oregano; cooked aubergine/eggplant, spicy fennel sausage, scamorza and tomato; black olives, anchovies, salami and Tropea onion; or aubergine, garlic, chillies, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
Pitta ripiena calabrese / pitta china calabrese (stuffed flatbread) – Calabria
250 grams biga
340 grams 0 flour or strong white bread flour
250 mls water
7 grams salt
2 grams yeast
60 grams prosciutto
60 grams salami (can use soppressa, spicy salami or nduja)
2 eggs, beaten with salt and pepper or hard boiled and sliced
200 grams mozzarella cheese (can use ricotta or caciocavallo instead)
50 grams pecorino cheese, finely grated (can use ricotta secca di pecora instead)
Mix the biga, flour, water, salt and yeast together to form a dough. Let it sit for 1 hour covered with cling film.
Preheat the oven to 220C. Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll out the two pieces to similar sized circles, about 26 cm in diameter.
Place the salami evenly around one of the pieces of dough, leaving a 2 cm border. Cover with the prosciutto and mozzarella. Top with the pecorino and pour the egg over (or place sliced hard boiled egg).
Top with the other piece of dough and roll the edges together to seal. Cut a hole in the middle of the dough to allow the steam to escape. Place on a baking pan covered with parchment paper. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.