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Ben Tish's tarongia – Sicilian olive oil-fried flatbread

By Features Reporter

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Tarongia from Moorish by Ben Tish. Picture: PA Photo/Kris Kirkham
Tarongia from Moorish by Ben Tish. Picture: PA Photo/Kris Kirkham

"From the Aeolian Islands off the Sicilian coast, this wonderful bread is not for the faint-hearted. The dough is fried in olive oil for a few minutes, before the toppings are added and then grilled to finish. It is completely delicious and the toppings can be varied to your liking," explains restaurateur and cookbook author, Ben Tish.

"A spicy paté, such as nduja, with some fresh and bitter chicory leaves and lemon is a delicious alternative.

"The dough will naturally take on the flavour of the olive oil used to deep-fry, so be sure to go with a favourite variety."

Ingredients (serves 6):

For the dough:

240ml lukewarm water

50ml red wine

1tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1tbsp runny honey

1x7g sachet dried yeast granules

425g strong white flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting

Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

½tsp fine salt

Olive oil for frying

For the filling:

1 bulb of fennel, cored and finely sliced

75g sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and roughly chopped

1 red onion, finely sliced

1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced

18 salted anchovies

100g pecorino or caciocavallo, grated

1tbsp picked thyme leaves

Sea salt and black pepper


1. First make the bread dough. Put the water, wine, oil and honey in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and stir well. Leave to activate and become foamy. Now add a third of the flour, the lemon zest and salt and whisk in to make a smooth batter. Mix in the remaining flour to make a manageable dough.

2. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes or until you have a firm, smooth dough. Shape into a ball, place in a bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave to rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

3. Cut the dough into six equal portions. Roll out each piece into a rough circle. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before cooking.

4. Heat enough olive oil for shallow frying in a deep pan to 170C. In batches, carefully lower the breads into the hot oil using a metal spatula or spider and fry for five to six minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm.

5. To make the filling, heat a sauté pan over a medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. Add the fennel and season, then cook for three minutes or until softened and browned. Add the tomatoes, onion and chilli, stir and cook for a further three minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

6. Preheat the grill. Divide the fennel and tomato mix among the flatbreads, spreading it over the top, followed by the anchovies and then the cheese. Place under the grill and cook for three minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Sprinkle with thyme and serve.

Moorish by Ben Tish, published by Bloomsbury Absolute.
Moorish by Ben Tish, published by Bloomsbury Absolute.
  • Moorish: Vibrant Recipes from the Mediterranean by Ben Tish, photography by Kris Kirkham, is published by Bloomsbury Absolute, priced £26. Available now.

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