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Pizza Fritta - traditional Neapolitan deep-fried pizza

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Follow me inside the kitchen of working-class pizza joint in downtown Napoli and see how they make deep fried pizza, the cult Neapolitan street food.

Pizza Fritta is a Neapolitan street food that has never quite taken on outside Naples but enjoys a cult-like reverence amongst the locals. The concept is simple - seal the toppings between two layers of pizza dough and deep-fry it until crispy. Eat and watch the calorie counter go through the roof. It is not a Scottish atrocity but a delicious traditional specialty of Napoli, Italy.

I speak Italian and asked a local where the best pizza fritta in town was. Every Neapolitan has its opinion and I ended up in a tiny working-class joint off Via Toledo in downtown Napoli. Antonio, the 30-something manager, invited me into the shop. 'Let me make you some room' he said, cleaning his white marble baker's bench. 'Here you sit. Make yourself confortable, help yourself from the fridge and make some mess if you like. You must feel at home!'. I sat back and watched him work from the back of the shop (photo).

On the picture above you see little balls of dough - they have raised for 7-8 hours to reach that stage. The cook flattens two discs per pizza and covers one with the toppings. Tomato coulis, mozzarella and meat.

He takes the second disc and covers the pizza with it, sealing (photo) the sides with his fingers.

Now the fun begins. The stuffed pizza is immersed in a hot oil bath (180-200C). The first pizza of the day makes quite an impression as the oil bath appeared so far to be almost cold. But as soon as the soft and very flat pizza enteres the bath, it bubbles like the pits of hells and the pizza starts to dance.

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