Slaughterhouse waste turned into street food: they call it “‘A frittula”

‘A Frittula is a typical preparation part of the culinary tradition of Palermo, a particular kind of street food: not the most popular for sure and quite mysterious. The raw ingredients used to cook the frittola are the result of the butchery of the calf: pieces of meat and small cartilages considered waste products of the cut of meat. 

U Frittularu, this is the name of the vendor, boils the meat and compacts the shredded meat into larger pieces; these little “bales” of meat are then fried, adding black pepper and bay tree leafs. The mixture of fried meat, and spices is stored inside of a wicker basket, covered with a cloth. The original recipe dates back to the 15th century and features some differences like the use of the lard to fry the meat, and the absence of the boiling process (it will be hard though to find someone who cooks it following the original recipe).

The frittula must stay hidden from the view of the buyers, even while serving it: the vendor puts his hand inside the basket without removing the cloth, and fills up a soft bun or a cone of wax paper. Then finally you can see the frittula, one of the most bizarre street foods you’ll get to taste in Sicily, and yet not the strangest one. 

Photo credit: Stephen Woolverton “Frittola & Vespa in Ballaro market Palermo” Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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