Tarongia – Sicilian olive oil-fried flatbread

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This Sicilian flatbread recipe is deep-fried and then grilled to create a beautifully crisp and indulgent snack. Topped with fennel, anchovies, chilli, pecorino and onion, it's an amazing thing to eat that transports you to the Italian island. This recipe is taken from Moorish by Ben Tish (Bloomsbury, Absolute, £26), which is out now. Photography by Kris Kirkham.

First published in 2019

From the Aeolian islands off the Sicilian coast, this wonderful bread is not for the faint-hearted. The dough is fried in olive oil for a few minutes before the toppings are added and then grilled to finish. It is completely delicious and the toppings can be varied to your liking. A spicy pâté such as nduja with some fresh and bitter chicory leaves and lemon is a delicious alternative.

The dough will naturally take on the flavour of the olive oil used to deep-fry, so be sure to go with a favourite variety.





  • 240ml of water, lukewarm
  • 50ml of red wine
  • 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of runny honey
  • 7g of dried yeast
  • 425g of strong white flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zested
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • olive oil



First make the bread dough. Put the water, wine, oil and honey in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and stir well. Leave to activate and become foamy. Now add a third of the flour, the lemon zest and salt and whisk in to make a smooth batter. Mix in the remaining flour to make a manageable dough
Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes or until you have a firm, smooth dough. Shape into a ball, place in a bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave to rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or until doubled in size
Cut the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll out each piece into a rough circle. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before cooking
Heat enough olive oil for shallow frying in a deep pan to 170°C. In batches, carefully lower the breads into the hot oil using a metal spatula or spider and fry for 5–6 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm
To make the filling, heat a sauté pan over a medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. Add the fennel and season, then cook for 3 minutes or until softened and browned. Add the tomatoes, onion and chilli, stir and cook for a further 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl
Preheat the grill. Divide the fennel and tomato mix among the flatbreads, spreading it over the top, followed by the anchovies and then the cheese. Place under the grill and cook for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Sprinkle with thyme and serve

Ben Tish is the chef-director of The Stafford London. His latest book, Moorish, celebrates the flavours of Sicily and other parts of the Mediterranean.

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