I’m excited to show you a simple dish that is very popular in the Italian region where I was born and raised, Campania.

Freselle, a rough, dried, whole-grain handmade bread baked twice. You should be able to find in all good Italian grocery shops outside of Italy and in most Italian “panetterie” and supermarkets in Italy – especially in the south.

They are typically made of white flour but the ones I enjoy the most and you see in these pics are made of whole wheat flour. They are shaped like a large disk with a hole for a practical reason: in the past they were tucked in a rope that was then knotted to form a necklace. Easy to hang, transport and store. A “traveling bread” that fishermen used to bathe in seawater and consume during their long fishing trips.

I love freselle because they are incredibly tasty, especially when seasoned with extra virgin olive oil. Also they make a quick, healthy, low fat meal. In Naples we use it as a “base” for salads, here I’m showing you a freselle recipe that is very popular in my family (especially in summer time): freselle with beef tomato and cannellini bean salad.

If you manage to find freselle please give them a try and do not forget to soften them in cold water. They deliver the taste of southern Italy, where simplicity and freshness is key to any meal.  Also feel free to enrich the salad with whatever veggies you have on hand. My variant includes red bell peppers. I did not ask for permission in Italy before adding the peppers but I am confident my mum would approve it :).

Freselle

Servings: 1 person

Ingredients

  • 1-2 disks depending on how hungry you are
  • 1 can of cannellini beans drained
  • 2 large beef tomatoes sliced
  • 1 bell pepper cut
  • 50 g fresh oregano
  • a generous pinch of salt
  • if you’re feeling adventurous add 1-2 teaspoons capers
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  • Pass the freselle under running water for 1 minute to soften them, then shake off the excess water. Add a spoon of olive oil on the freselle.
  • To prepare the salad: in a bowl, mix the sliced tomatoes and pepper with drained beans and a bit of olive oil. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper.
  • Mix well and place on top of the freselle.

 

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2 Comments

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  1. My mom and my grandmother used to make this bread with white flour. I remember nonna quickly rinsing it under water to soften it a bit, and then drizzling olive oil, a bit of homemade vinegar, dried oregano, and a bit of salt. I loved eating it as a kid. I haven’t had it since, nor have I made it myself. It’s hard to find friselle here in Germany, but I still remember making them with my mom. Thanks for sharing your family’s recipe and for bringing me down memory lane. 🙂 I sure miss my nonna’s and my mom’s cooking.

    1. Oh Rosa that’s a nice memory you share. Oregano, oil, vinegar and a pinch of salt was another popular combination in my family.. and I totally forgot it! Will season the freselle this way, next time.