Regensburg is a wonderful, quaint city about an hour drive north of Munich, known for its many bars and restaurants. Waaaay back when we lived there, one of the Italian places (Dolce Vita) we went to on a pretty regular basis inspired us to make these little, so very yummy, appetizers. Which back then I couldn’t quit eating and thus sometimes had to skip the main dish. They called them “Panini Speciale”, but would not for the life of them share with us how they did them…of course not. We girls used all our charm to smooth talk the cook, however the only hint he gave us was: the dough would be quite similar to a good pizza dough.
So really, we’re uncertain about their actual name and whether or not they are indeed made the way we found works best.
It is also a great snack just with wine, San Daniele prosciutto, manchego cheese and olives.
Lightly mix yeast, sugar and lukewarm water. Put the flour and the salt in a separate mixing bowl, add the olive oil and the yeast mixture. Knead by hand or use your favorite kitchen aid and add more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking – until it becomes smooth.
Dust with flour, cover with a clean dish towel and allow dough to rise in a warm place (for about 30 minutes).
Briefly knead dough again and roll out to one finger thickness. Now cut the dough in small squares (or any other shape), at least 1×1 inch.
Heat up olive oil at medium heat in a pan (use enough oil, so the dough pieces will swim). Add thyme or rosemary twig (whichever you like more) and garlic. Fry them until they brown and remove. By now and with the aroma spreading throughout your kitchen you should be fully convinced that this will turn into a fabulous appetizer.
Finally add the little “dough cushions”. Let them fry for about 2-3 minutes, watch them grow and become all fluffy, and then turn. Once they take on a light golden color, drain them on a sheet of absorbent paper. That’s it. These delicious antipasti are best eaten warm! N.
Recipe source: Inspired by an Italian restaurant (Dolce Vita)
Required time: almost an hour (preparing, waiting, frying)
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
20g fresh yeast
pinch of sugar
200ml lukewarm water
1 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp olive oil (for the dough)
olive oil (plenty for the pan)
rosemary twig or thyme
garlic, 2-3 cloves