Fritto Misto

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I can’t wait for you to make this restaurant-quality fritto misto recipe in the comfort of your home! Succulent shrimp, calamari, and cod are coated in a light batter, fried to a crispy golden bite, and served with creamy homemade tartar sauce.

Fans of seafood, you’ve got to try this delicious Spanish seafood paella, too, and my easy grilled lobster. Both are flavorful and perfect for any seafood lover!

Fritto misto served on a round plate with a small bowl of tartar sauce.


 

Fritto Misto is one of those things you can expect to see as you wander the streets of Venice, Italy. It literally forced me off the cobbled sidewalks to sit down and enjoy the perfect crunch of the light breading and the juicy seafood. This recipe is surprisingly easy to make and satisfies my craving for classic Italian fare, even when in my good old Indiana. Every bite is light and crunchy, making it hard to believe it’s actually fried. Everything tastes so fresh, like it came straight from the sea this morning. Or Lake Michigan. Same thing. But, that’s the magic of seafood fritto misto!

Why You’ll Love This Fritto Misto Recipe

Easy but impressive. Frying seafood can seem daunting, but this recipe is a breeze. Perfect for beginners, it lets anyone whip up a classic Italian dish that will impress!

Delicious breading. I love the crispy breading so much! The rice flour is light, and the baking powder adds airiness so it’s not heavy.

Homemade tartar sauce. Made with fresh, bright ingredients, the creamy sauce is the perfect accompaniment to the crunchy seafood dish.

Customizable. This recipe is easy to tweak to make it your own. Use different seafood, try a different sauce, and/or incorporate some veggies. You could even make it a vegetarian dish.

Up close image of fritto misto. A fried mix of seafood.

What Is Fritto Misto?

Fritto misto translates to “fried mix”. It is a classic Italian dish that is well-loved worldwide. It’s usually a mixture of seafood, and sometimes veggies and herbs, that have been breaded and fried to crispy, golden-brown deliciousness. The fritto breading is nice and light, so it doesn’t overpower the goodies it coats.

Recipe Ingredients

Alright, let’s get everything you need to make this fantastic and easy fritto misto recipe. These ingredients, from the crispy batter to the juicy seafood, are about to make this your new favorite seafood dish!

For the tartar sauce

  • Mayonnaise – Use real, full-fat mayo.
  • Minced dill pickles – You could use pickle relish here instead.
  • Fresh dill – Fresh is most certainly best. Try not to use the dried.
  • Fresh lemon juice – Use fresh lemon juice. The bottled stuff just isn’t the same.
  • Sugar – It might sound strange to add sugar to a savory dip, but trust me, it’s just a tiny bit and does a wonderful job of balancing out the flavors.
  • Salt and Black Pepper

For the fried seafood

  • Canola oil – I used canola oil for frying but any neutral frying oil will do.
  • Rice flour – You could use regular flour but the rice flour will end you with a much lighter, crunchier breading.
  • Baking powder – The baking powder makes the batter nice and light and airy.
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dry white wine – The wine contributes sweet acidity to the fish without weighing the batter down. I used a Pinot Grigio, but you could use a dry brut instead.
  • Seafood – I went with medium-sized shrimp (peeled and deveined), calamari rings and tentacles, and cod. You can use fresh or frozen seafood. If frozen, allow it to thaw completely and then pat it dry.
  • Lemon wedges – Squeeze a wedge over your portion of fritto misto and enjoy.

How To Make Fritto Misto

I am so excited for you to try this fun, surprisingly easy fritto. Here are just a few simple guidelines to make it a favorite in your own kitchen.

  • Make the tartar sauce. Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce. Cover and chill in the fridge.
  • Heat the oil. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375°F over medium heat.
  • Prep. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and another with paper towels.
  • Make the batter. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, followed by the wine and water.
  • Batter the seafood. Toss the seafood in the batter to coat it completely and transfer it to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Fry the seafood. Fry the seafood for 3 minutes per batch, turning with a spider-skimmer periodically. Once fried, transfer each batch to the baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  • Serve. Serve warm with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.
A round plate filled with battered and fried shrimp, cod, and calamari, with a tartar sauce served in a bowl.

Recipe Tips

  • Batter consistency. The batter should resemble a thin pancake batter. If it is too thick, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Too thin? Add a bit more rice flour.
  • Pat dry. Use paper towels to pat the seafood dry before breading it. If the seafood has too much moisture clinging to it, the batter won’t adhere to it.
  • Shake off excess batter. Let any excess batter drip off before frying. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself with globs of breading that take away from the delicate nature of the fried seafood.
  • Temperature matters. Attempting to fry your food in oil that is too cool will end you with soggy, greasy breading. If the oil is too hot, it will burn the breading before cooking the seafood through. Use a candy thermometer to ensure the temperature is at 375°F before you begin frying and between batches.
  • Don’t crowd the frying oil. Adding too much food to the pan will cause the oil to cool down too quickly, which will end you with soggy breading (see my previous point). Please fry in batches if needed. Just make sure to bring the oil back up to temperature between batches.
  • Don’t overcook. Seafood is delicate and cooks fast, so set a timer and don’t walk away from the pan. Cook it just until the breading is slightly golden and the seafood is cooked through.
  • Keep things moving. You want the seafood to cook evenly, so use a spider skimmer or something similar to move it around and turn it in the pan periodically as it fries.
Two individual plates with fried seafood.

Recipe Variations

  • Try different seafood. I went with shrimp, calamari, and cod, but there are plenty of other ways to go. Some popular choices include halibut, sardines, tilapia, smelt, and baby octopus tentacles. Note that some fish will take a bit longer to fry, so adjust your cooking time as needed.
  • Add veggies (or make it vegetarian). It is common to see vegetables such as thinly sliced fennel, sliced summer squash, or small broccoli florets battered and fried with the seafood in frito misto. Definitely give it a shot, but make a bit more batter and add the veggies of your choosing. You can also make this a purely vegetarian dish by replacing the seafood entirely with vegetables.
  • Consider a different sauce. I am a big fan of tartar sauce here but a garlic or lemon aioli would be delicious as well. So would cocktail sauce or a classic remoulade.

Serving Suggestions

My favorite way to serve fritto misto is as an appetizer with tartar sauce, lemon wedges, and sparkling white wine. If you want to give it some company, serve it with a platter of chilled oysters or another finger food of your choosing. Stick with the fried theme and try these Air Fryer Potato Chips. Otherwise, consider these Classic Deviled Eggs.

You can also serve this fried mix of seafood as your main course, along with my famous Focaccia or some crunchy garlic bread and a light salad. This Green Goddess Salad or my Tomato Burrata Salad would be perfect!

A hand is dipping shrimp in a creamy sauce.

Proper Storage

To store. Once cool, seal the leftover fritto misto in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. I don’t love freezing fritto misto because it doesn’t thaw well (the breading likes to fall off), but you can keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To reheat. Arrange the leftover fried goodies in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (thaw it first if applicable) and bake at 350°F for about 10 minutes. You can also reheat it in the air fryer for 3-5 minutes at 350°F.

More Seafood Recipes To Try

Craving seafood? Join the club! Here are some of my other favorite seafood-centric recipes for you to try. Let me know what you think.

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5 from 1 vote

Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto is easy to make with shrimp, calamari, and cod coated in a light batter, fried to crispy perfection, and served with creamy homemade tartar sauce.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 people

Ingredients 

For the Tartar Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup minced dill pickles
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Seafood

  • canola oil, for frying
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • cups dry white wine, like Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ pound calamari, cut into rings and tentacles
  • ½ pound cod filet, cubed
  • lemon wedges, for serving
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Instructions 

  • Make the tartar sauce. Whisk together the mayo, pickles, dill, lemon, and sugar. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as desired. Cover and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • Heat the oil. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 3 inches of oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 375°F. I highly recommend using a candy thermometer.
  • Prep. Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper. Line another baking sheet or large plate with paper towels.
  • Make the batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the wine and water. The mixture should resemble a very thin pancake batter. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if it is too thick.
  • Batter the seafood. Add the seafood to the mixing bowl with the batter and toss to coat. Remove the seafood from the batter, allowing any excess batter to drip off. Transfer the battered seafood to the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Fry the seafood. Finally, fry the seafood in batches for 3 minutes per batch, turning with a spider-skimmer periodically or until golden. Transfer the fried food to the baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  • Serve. Serve fritto misto warm with the homemade tartar sauce and lemon wedges.

Notes

  • Batter consistency: Aim for a thin pancake batter.
  • Pat dry: Dry the food with paper towels before breading. Moisture prevents the batter from sticking.
  • Temperature: Use oil at 375°F for frying and check it with a candy thermometer.
  • Don’t crowd the frying oil: Overloading leads to uneven cooking.
  • Storage: Seal the leftovers in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 434kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 957mg | Potassium: 340mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 73IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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2 Comments

  1. Rick L says:

    This dish sure looks delicious. Reminds me of the fish fries at Howard Johnson as a child. Clam strips & flounder w/tartar sauce. Yum 😋

    1. Katerina says:

      That sounds wonderful! Those memories make the dish even more special. Enjoy! 🙂