Earlier this week, I mentioned that in the days leading up to and including La Festa di Santa Lucia, Palermitani don’t eat flour-based foods. So what do they eat then? Arancine, of course! Yes, these balls-of-gold are a masterpiece of Palermitano wheat-free street food, and Sicilians of the Conco d’Oro take their arancine very seriously for Saint Lucy’s feast day. These fried rice balls stuffed with beef ragu, peas, and caciocavallo cheese are eaten with much fervor in the shadow of Mount Pellegrino. Home cooks even compete for the honor of being awarded the best “home cooked” arancine (My cousin Patrizia was garnared the prize four years ago.).
These beauties pictured were the “oranges of my eye” recently when I walked through Il Capo market. (Note: the word arancina is a play on arancio, or orange, in Italian.) From Friggitoria Gastronomia da Arianna at Via Porta Carini, 51, they were the perfect combination of crunchy on the outside and creamy, soft rice with gooey cheese on the inside. More on the other food that Sicilians eat for Santa Lucia, cuccia, in another post.
Last chance to register! Join us in New York City this Sun., Dec. 10 at 2PM at Cacio e Vino restaurant to celebrate the Feast of Santa Lucia. Your reservation includes a four-course traditional Sicilian menu with wine, tax, and gratuities included, a short concert by music duo Villa Palagonia, a presentation about the cult of Santa Lucia by yours truly of Experience Sicily, and a raffle of various prizes. We’re gonna have a lot of fun!