Barbagiuans of Monaco

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Craving something a little indulgent? This might be for you. These little pockets of fried dough, stuffed with cheese, leeks, chard, and oregano are tasty and cute. Hailing from the tiny shores of Monaco, this dish presented a new experience into my realm of cooking… Deep frying.

As I filled up the pot with oil, I didn’t know if this dish would turn out. Without a thermometer, I wouldn’t know just how hot the oil was. Fingers crossed, I dropped the Barbagiuans into the pot. Luckily, it was hot enough to deep fry them. My skin didn’t suffer any burns, either. I did, however, lose a plastic spoon to this process. It melted in the oil as I moved and fussed over the little fried pastries. When we picked Monaco, the only image that came to my mind was an angelic Grace Kelly, divinely dressed, tiara and all. The map shows just how small Monaco is, nestled in the French Riviera. Only 499 acres of land, and all of them splashed with ritz and luxury.

Surprisingly, somehow, the dish echoed the culture. Fried food can feel very pedestrian, reminiscent of fast food, hot dog stands, or the concessions at a sports complex. But the ingredients inside the pocket were so savory, flavorful, and creamy that it was on another level of fried food. It’s the sophisticated, worldly cousin of the Wisconsin cheese curd. So if the Minnesota State Fair hasn’t filled your fried food appetite by the end of the summer, give these a try!

Ingredient List

For the pastry:

  • plain flour
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • water

    For the filling:

  • olive oil
  • onion, finely chopped
  • leeks, finely chopped
  • swiss chard leaves (green parts only), shredded and chopped
  • fresh spinach, chopped
  • dried oregano, crumbled
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • vegetable oil for deep frying

Quick Quotes

S: “Perhaps the most unhealthy dish so far. That said, there wasn’t enough of it to feel like an entree. Taste was unique, enjoyable, and artery-jeopardizing.”

T: “This was really tasty! The flavors inside the pastry were delicious.”

Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of Monaco is Monaco, for it is a city-state
  • The official language is French
  • Monaco is the second smallest country in the world, Vatican City being the first
  • It has the lowest poverty rating in the world
  • Tourism is a major source of income
  • Monaco has been ruled by a member of the Grimaldi family since 1297
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