One of the most traditional food you can eat in Messina‘s families for Christmas Eve is definitely this exquisite calzone of poor origins which you can have fried or baked in the oven.
Being a family recipe, as often happens there are several versions, some put tomatoes in the filling, some other don’t, ecc…
I personally love the classic one with only 3 ingredients: anchovies, Sicilian cheese (either caciocavallo or primo sale or smoked scamorza), and, some kind of local vegetable with large green leaves, that we call indivia or scarola, and can be translated into endive or escarole or wild lettuce, or any other similar of your choice.
oil for frying (of your choice)
Roll each of them with a rolling pin (about 2/3 mm thick) giving it a rounded shape and start filling half of it, as you would normally do with a classic calzone. Put 3 pieces of anchovies, a handful of endive or escarole, salt and pepper and finally abundant cheese on top (at least 3 or 4 slices).
Cover with the other half left without filling, making sure the edges stick one another and there are no holes in the dough otherwise the cheese will come out and get burnt.
Once you have all the pitoni ready, fry them in oil (or bake them in the oven if you prefer at a temperature of 180° for about 12 to 20 minutes (it depends how big they are).
Tips: If you are frying, the pitoni have to float in the oil, so if you don’t have a proper electric fryer, you can use an aluminium old casserole or pot of medium size with high rims which will allow you to get the perfect result.
Once they are golden brown on both sides leave them on kitchen paper to absorb the exceeding oil for a couple of minute, then serve hot.
It’s such a simple recipe and it is so incredibly tasty. I am sure you will love it, whether you choose to fry it or bake it, whether you go with the provola or the wild lettuce, the essence of it is using the most basic everyday ingredients and create something exquisite with it, perfect to be enjoyed for Christmas Eve.
Happy Holidays lovely foodies and enjoy!