History of Neapolitan frying: mixed, 'e mazzamma,' e fravaglia, 'and paranza

by Imma Galluccio

There frying it's a cooking technique born in Egypt, arrived at the Romans, crossing the Mediterranean, and which he finds in the shadow of Vesuvius fertile ground for perfuming basses, streets and squares. This, beloved in every corner of the globe, in Naples has an importance of first order, as most of the Neapolitan dishes are fried.

Frying crosses the Mediterranean

Frying is a culinary technique very ancient, used in Egypt since 2500 BC, which was used for cooking dishes mostly sweets. We have this news thanks to Apicius, author of one of the first cookbooks, il De re coquinaria. For frying it was not essential to use oil, but this could easily be replaced by lard or dal animal fat, a bit like they did and do our grandmothers still today, because “it is more tasty fry in the nzogna of the country pig ".

This makes us understand how cooking has been over the centuries handed down between different countries, influencing each other each other, forming a single culture and a single one diet, that Mediterranean. Romans they did not use a lot of frying food, especially if with theoil, of which they did not prefer the taste too acrid. This condiment was instead used as cosmetic or even for the religious ritesthe.

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance food continued to be fried in the animal fats, except the fish, which was fried inolive oil. In Mediterranean and not only was it fried in fat, inoil and even in garum or in honey any type of food, an ancient technique that has lasted for years and which gives the dishes a explosive taste.

Frying in Naples after second after war became an institution, being the wood oven a too expensive expense, they used to fry, all by immersing the little food that was in the houses in liters of boiling oil, making the meal, albeit poor, greedy.

Mixed fry, 'e mazzamma,' and fravaglia, 'and paranza

Storia della frittura napoletana: mista, 'e mazzamma, 'e fravaglia, 'e paranza

Naples can be considered the capital of frying, as you can buy mixed cuoppi from land or sea everywhere. The cuoppo of earth with crocchè, batter zeppole, stuffed courgette flowers, montanare and mozzarella in carrozza is the perfectassortment of food, before embarking on a long walk for the wonders of our city.

Storia della frittura napoletana: mista, 'e mazzamma, 'e fravaglia, 'e paranza

To become true connoisseurs of fish fry we must, however, make a small clarification. In our Naples it is customary to say "who keeps and deaf if magna pisce 'and cut, who not if magic trouble", This means that fish is a food that costs money and those who can spend buy quality fish, while those who cannot buy"trouble“, Usually blue and small fish that go perfectly with fried food.

We must make a difference, however, between the various fried of marand, this is explained to us by Amedeo Colella in his book "A thousand paraustielli of Neapolitan cuisine". We have the frying 'and mazzamma, a fried fish made with low quality fish, usually the waste of what remains of the catch that you have not been able to see.

There frying 'and trouble, or fravaglio, is instead composed of fish of higher quality, than the mazzamma, but small in size. To be clear, these are fish such as: anchovies, sardines, mullets, shrimps. And finally the frying 'and paranza, in which there are fish of larger size, than the troubled one, but still very small. This type of fried fish takes its name from the paranza, the typical trawling boat.

After making these clarifications, theonly what we have left is order a good fried... both of sea that of Earth.


Amedeo Colella, A thousand paraustielli of Neapolitan cuisine, cultura nova, 2019

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