I don’t know what made me think of this. Perhaps it was a conversation with my mother who lives in rural Illinois, where you can’t get butter in a restaurant and have to settle for some chemical glop called “Shedd’s Spread” because, you know, butter has fat and that nasty thing in it that patches cracked arterial walls called cholesterol—and then (surprise!) everything else on the menu is deep fat fried. Tradition. You can’t beat it.
But if you are yearning for fried and happen to find yourself in Tuscany, you need to try the Barnyard fry called “fritto dell’aia” on menus.
You get all the stuff my Italian neighbors have in their backyards: chicken, rabbit, and vegetables, fried up in a crisp shell that keeps all the juices in so they can escape and run down your arms after you pick up a piece and apply your incisors to it.
Below is a picture of a good one. Its from the Osteria del Vecchio Pazzo, an old olive mill converted into an interesting restaurant outside the walls of Lucca and very close to some interesting Lucca villas worth visiting, especially Villa Reale, Villa Oliva e Villa Grabau. (The room we ate in is shown in the picture on the left.) Precede this dish with some tordelli and you can’t go wrong—and you might not want to eat for a while after, I can tell you!