F1 food challenge – Barbagiuan 

Even before I got into F1, I knew the Monaco GP was a big one. Love or hate the track, everyone agrees that the Monaco Grand Prix makes F1. Despite having grown up in France, I’ve never actually been to Monaco — or more importantly, tried Monegasque food. So I almost felt like this GP crept up on me, as I suddenly found myself with no clue what to cook.

I eventually settled on Barbagiuan, which are not only full of pastry, they are also deep fried, so I knew regardless of how they turned out they’d probably be delicious. And I was right. The process of making them didn’t go entirely smoothly, the filling was way too wet and started seeping out of the parcels, the recipe I followed gave no indication of how thick the pastry should be and consequently mine was probably too thick, so I made fewer parcels — and I ended up assuming this would be a repeat of the gnocchi disaster

Luckily for me, the frying process saved it. I didn’t deep fry them as I thought dropping them into a liquid would cause everything to fall apart, so I shallow fried them. This meant delicately placing them on the bottom of the pan, in the hot oil, and leaving them in that position until they needed turning over. This led to about a dozen more or less evenly cooked, golden brown and crispy parcels. Anything that was seeping out of the pastry was fried in place — so far more successful than my gnocchi.

I served this with a few (probably not authentic) side dishes, and a ‘Monaco’ cocktail, which is as far as I am aware, French, but is a delicious drink made of beer, lemonade, and grenadine ‘sirop’ (I used red fruit cordial as London doesn’t seem to sell sirop…). 

Anyway, onto the recipe:

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 210g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 60mL olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp water

Filling

  • 1.5 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp onion
  • 2 tbsp leek
  • 2 leaves Swiss chard
  • 50g spinach
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2.5 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 1 tbsp Parmesan
  • 1 egg white
  • Vegetable oil for frying 

Method

  1. To make the pastry, sieve the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the oil, 2 tbsp of the egg and mix. 
  2. Then add water — just enough to turn it into a firm dough. Knead this dough on a floured work surface until it becomes smooth and elastic. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes
  3. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sweat the onion and leek until golden. Add the chard and cook until soft, adding the oregano and spinach at the last minute — so the spinach is lightly wilted.
  4. Mix the cheeses and leftover egg in a bowl, then add in the vegetable mix.
  5. After the dough has chilled, roll it out and cut into rounds, 6cm across. Place one tsp of the filling in the centre, and fold the pastry over, sealing it with a small amount of egg white.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy bottomed pan. Once the oil is hot, add the parcels and cook until golden brown and crispy. Let sit for a few minutes before serving as they retain their heat for a while.
  7. Enjoy! 

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