Anchovy fritters

Polenta is popular in northern Italy.


Polenta is popular in northern Italy. This dish is traditional from Lombardy, and more precisely from beautiful Mantua. It makes a great party canapé and the perfect dish for Chanucah.

Makes: 16-18 fritters

Preparation: 20 minutes plus 20 minutes cooling time

Cooking: 15 minutes


● 250g quick-cook polenta
● 1.5l boiling water
● 1 tsp sea salt
● 80g anchovy fillets, drained from oil and chopped
● 100g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced (optional)
● Semolina or flour to dust
● 2-3 eggs (optional)
● Approximately 500ml sunflower oil, for frying


● Cook the polenta in accordance with packet instructions. By the end you should have a smooth-thick consistency.
l Pour the cooked polenta into a large tray (approximately 30x35cm) laid with baking parchment and spread in a thin even layer about ½ cm thick.

● Lay cling film directly onto the polenta and leave to cool completely. You can also do this a day ahead and refrigerate until ready to use.
l Melt the anchovy fillets into a small saucepan over a low heat for about 5 minutes – do not allow fillets to boil or they will dry out.

● Crush to a paste.

● Cut the set polenta into pairs of triangles, squares, circles or finger sticks.
l Spread half of each polenta pair with anchovy paste and a thin slice of mozzarella cheese - if using. Top with the other half.
l Now either coat each polenta bite with flour or semolina OR with flour/semolina then egg then more flour/semolina before frying. I prefer just 1 coat of semolina as I find the egg heavy, but egg can keep the fritters together which is definitely a plus.
l Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and when hot add the polenta bites.

● Fry each side for 3-4 minutes until golden on both sides.

● Drain the polenta bites on kitchen paper to remove excess oil and serve hot or warm.

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