One of Bari’s many culinary specialties is u’ panzerott’ (il panzerotto), a dough stuffed with mozzarella and a hint of tomato and deep fried (well, technically they can be baked, too, but why anyone would pass over fried food is beyond me). At Di Cosimo, situated just off Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII near the Policlinico, panzerotto production has been elevated to an art form. I had the great fortune of going there last week with some friends and was stunned at the free-for-all that awaited us. Outside, dozens of people leaned against cars and scooters while they mowed through their deep fried treats. Inside, the place was packed so tight, it was a struggle to get to the ticket dispensers (one each for ordering either fried or baked panzerotti) to take a number.
Amidst all this chaos, we decided to sit in the back and have table service. Getting there was a challenge, but with a few choice elbow jabs for leverage, we made it back past the frier to the badly lit hall. There, they will only serve panzerotti if you order a pizza, too, which is not such a bad thing. Just bring your appetite.
We ordered a margherita pizza each and two panzerotti to share. The pizza was excellent, similar to Neapolitan style, and gave us something to snack on while waiting for the panzerotti to cool off. As delicious as they are, they present quite a burn risk since they are served immediately after being taken out of a vat of boiling oil. I learned to wait the hard way, suffering a burn on my thumb the previous day. But they are worth the danger and Di Cosimo’s panzerotti are legendary for a reason. For being deep fried, they are surprisingly light and the tomato and mozzarella inside mingle perfectly. This is one of those simple dishes that makes me want to pick up and move south. I would have to live a long walk away from Di Cosimo…
Via Modugno Giovanni 31