Seafood couscous is a staple dish of western Sicilian cuisine. This one, pictured, was one of tens of international recipes with different ingredients served at the September 2014 installation of the annual Couscous Fest in San Vito Lo Capo.
Ancient Sicilian Secret
The cloistered Cistercian nuns of Agrigento’s Monastero di Santo Spirito, like many of their cloistered counterparts around Sicily, over the centuries have raised funds by selling baked goods. Pictured here is one of those goods–sweet couscous–for which the recipe is a secret. After eating it during our Experience Sicily tour in September, I can tell…
Eat your greens!
Sicilians and Italians when they are the chief homemakers, generally shop daily (or utilize their own gardens’ bounty) to determine what they’ll cook that day. This is why everything tastes so good! An example is this beautiful, fresh cabbage seen at Ballerò street market in Palermo.
Sicily’s Hot Table
If when in Sicily you are on the go and looking for something hearty to eat, stop into a “tavola calda” or rosticceria (Literally, “hot table” meaning cafeteria or rotisserie). There you will find “Pezzi di rosticceria” or according to my cousin Filippo, “Pezzi” for short. Pezzi (pieces) consist of pizzette (small pizzas), calzoni (pictured…
Warm sfincione, or “sfinciuni” in Sicilian, served directly from the street vendor is a real treat. Palermo-style (There are different recipes in each town.) is a flat bread with a sauce of tomatoes, anchovies, and Caciocavallo cheese baked into it with some oregono and breadcrumbs sprinkled on top. This one has a tomato slice baked…
They are Prickly
In the early fall, Sicilians enjoy the tuna, or fruit, of the cultivated “ficudinnia” in Sicilian, or “fico d’india” in Italian. We call them prickly pears. In the early fall, Sicilians enjoy the tuna, or fruit, of the cultivated “ficudinnia” in Sicilian, or “fico d’india” in Italian. We call them prickly pears. “Prickly” is a…
Does It Make Me Palermitana?
Today we were in Palermo, and we experienced StrEAT Tour Palermo. Here I am with our magnificent host and guide Marco. I am stuffed after eating arancine, panelle e cazzilli, sfincione, pane ca’ meusa (yes, I ate the infamous Palermitano spleen sandwich!!), and gelato con brioche, and drinking local “sangue” wine (blood). Oh, my. At…
Gigantic Green Beans?
This long, light green summer vegetable is a type of zucchini squash that is very typical of Sicily. Sicilians call it “cucuzza longa.” They cut it up and fry it with breadcrumbs. They make a light pasta sauce with onions, tomatoes, and potatoes with it. They make soups with it. And they also make a…
Irish: Potato, Sicilians: Eggplant
These “tunisine” eggplant are from Palermo’s historic Ballaro’ open-air market. Eggplant is a staple in Sicilian cuisine. The Irish have potatoes; Sicilians have eggplant, or “melanzane.” These, a breed that originated in Tunisia, are perfect for eggplant “alla parmigiana.”
The Difference between Fennel and Wild Fennel
Fennel, or finocchio, as it’s called in Italian, is an important ingredient in Sicilian cuisine. It grows wild across Sicily throughout spring and into summer, and is the principal ingredient after sardines for pasta con le sarde. But wild fennel isn’t the same as the bulb fennel that we are familiar with in the US….