Supplì are crunchy little balls of rice with a bit of soft mozzarella inside. A finger food that is also a uniquely Italian street food, known by a few but appreciated by many.
According to popular belief, the recipe for cacciucco fish soup came from the province of Livorno, Tuscany. This soup was a mix of fish trimmings and stale bread. Fish soup was used to feed imprisoned slaves, but it was also typically made by very poor families. Some claim that this dish goes back to Phoenician times, but popular legend has it that fish soup came about by accident. A fishermen went out to sea and was swept away by a terrible storm that killed him. His wife was desperate and sent her children to beg for a bit of food.
The other fishermen, moved by her situation, gave each child a fish. Returning home, the children turned over the fish, each one different, to their mother; she put them together and turned them into a soup, which she served with slices of stale bread. The neighbours, attracted by the fine smell, asked the housewife what it was, and she gave them the recipe for her delicious fish soup. Recipe Intro Super-tasty with all the flavours of the sea, fish soup is a highly prestigious dish. Its taste is unique, and the contrast of its consistency with the crunchiness of the toasted bread makes this truly perfect.
Crunchy outside and soft in, supplì are perfect with a chilled aperitif or to liven up an Italian-style brunch!
Chop the onion fine and sweat it in a large frypan with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Add the ground beef and brown well, then deglaze with the white wine. When the wine has evaporated, add the tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the tomato sauce, then add the rice and mix well.
Cook the rice, adding beef broth as needed. When the rice is ready, add the butter and Parmigiano and mix well. Add the egg and blend it in. When the rice has cooled off, take a spoonful in the palm of your hand, add a few cubes of mozzarella to the centre and close it up with more rice so as to make a ball. Roll the supplì in the bread crumbs and fry them in hot oil until they are golden-brown and crisp. Drain the supplì on kitchen paper and serve hot.
In some areas in Italy, supplì made this way are called “supplì al telefono”. When you open up the hot supplì using your hands, the mozzarella inside is stringy because of its consistency and the high heat used for frying. The white string recalls the old-style telephone lines, hence the romanticised name for this popular recipe!