A frittura di paranza is just very small fish dredged in flour, fried, and served with lemon wedges. Very popular in the South of Italy, this recipe requires absolutely fresh fish sp that you can really taste the sea.
1 kg of mixed small size fresh fish (tiny red mullets, small soles, baby cods and whatever else your fishmonger suggests), gutted and scaled if necessary
350 g of durum wheat flour
750 ml of vegetable oil for frying
1 fresh big lemon
Clean and wash the fish under plenty of running water, drain, pat dry and place in a platter.
Dredge the fish in the durum wheat flour, then shake off the excess. Make your job easier using a coarse sieve to shake off excess flour.
Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a frying pan. Add carefully the fish in batches and fry them for a couple of minutes until golden brown, turning gently so that they are cooked evenly on all sides.
Using a large skimmer spoon, remove the fish to drain on a paper towel lined plate.
Serve piping hot, sprinkled with sea salt and lemon wedges on the side.
Head and tail may or may not be removed, according to the size of the fish. Very small ones are generally served with head and tail left on as they are pleasingly crunchy.
To check if the oil is hot enough for frying your fish, dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the preheated pan. If the oil bubbles steadily, then it is hot enough for frying. If it bubbles very vigorously, then the oil has been overheated and needs to cool off a little bit. If no or very few bubbles pop up then the oil is not hot enough.
This recipes goes very well with a chilled glass of bubbly Prosecco as the acidity of the wine cuts through the oil and fat.