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The Cooking and Cuisine of Sicily

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#1 Kevin72

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 04:02 PM

July brings us the cooking of Sicily.

I’m really pumped about this month of cooking, most especially to see how everyone else does with it. Last year when I cooked from Sicily (also in July), I had a great time; I would just find myself grinning while prepping the food. It’s so aromatic and exotic and full of weird combos that you don’t see elsewhere in Italy. Things you’d never think would work together wind up being the best dishes; I’d encourage finding some out-there Sicilian recipes and giving them a spin (my favorites from last year: duck with chocolate, cantaloupe caponata, baked pasta with and orange and cinnamon-scented sausage ragu).

I’m going to try to acquire an actual Sicily cookbook this month, since usually I just go by the references in my other books. A booksearch on Amazon for Sicily reveals the following books:

Ciao Sicily by Damian Mandola, Johnny Carrabba

Sweet Sicily: The Story of an Island and Her Pastries
by Victoria Granof

Sicily: A Way of Life in 50 Recipes
by Janine Saine

Foods of Sicily and Sardinia and the Smaller Islands
by Giuliano Bugialli, John Dominis

The Flavors of Sicily
by Anna Tasca Lanza

"Pinch" of Sicily : A Collection of Memories and Traditional Recipes
by maria sciortino

Cucina Paradiso: The Heavenly Food of Sicily
by Clifford A. Wright

The Heart of Sicily : Recipes & Reminiscences of Regaleali, a Country Estate by Anna Tasca Lanza

Sicily (Flavors of Italy , Vol 2, No 4)
by Mariapaola Dettore, McCrae Books

Southern Italian Cooking : Family Recipes from the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
by Jo Bettoja

Pomp And Sustenance : Twenty Five Centuries Of Sicilian Food
by Mary Simeti Taylor

Cucina Siciliana
by Clarissa Hyman

Bitter Almonds: Recollections and Recipes from a Sicilian Girlhood
by Maria Grammatico

Sicilian Feasts
by Giovanna Bellia La Marca

Sicilian Home Cooking: Family Recipes from Gangivecchio
by Wanda Tornabene, Giovanna Tornabene, Michele Evans

Many Beautiful Things: Stories and Recipes from Polizzi Generosa -- by Vincent Schiavelli

So, quite a bit to choose from, over and above the chapters on Sicily in the regional cookbooks we’ve been referencing. I have Schiavelli’s book and really enjoy it, Sweet Sicily is dessert-oriented but still very worthwhile.

Classic dishes and preparations would take up pages, but suffice it to say, lots of seafood, especially compared against Sardinian traditional cooking. Sicily’s been ruled by nearly every Mediterranean power at one point or another and has embraced an elaborate layer of influences and dishes. Sweet and sour is a common preparation, but what is interesting is how varied the theme plays out: it’s a lot more than vinegar, sugar, raisins, and pine nuts. Chocolate is thrown in for a dash of bitter to balance out the dish in some recpies; in others the sweet comes from fresh fruit or honey instead of just sugar; in others the sour comes from citrus instead of vinegar. There’s a wealth of antipasti to choose from: many of them deep-fried. Pastas abound, but there’s also an interesting tradition of rice dishes and timabelle. Finally, vegetables are abundant and you could almost make a month out of vegetarian dishes, and a month more just on the variations on caponata, the sweet/sour condimento found here.

Even more pages could be devoted to the elaborate Sicilian sweet tooth: gelato, cannoli, zeppole, bigne, cassata just scratch the surface of some of the more famous sweets originated or perfected here.

Let’s get cooking! I’m really excited to see what everyone does . . .

#2 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 07:36 PM

Hooray! I'm really excited about this month: the first one in which I'll be able to participate, and even better, Sicily is one of my favorite parts of Italy. It's a big, big island, with a really wide range of climates and terrains; as a result, the food varies widely from place to place. It also has the longest culinary tradition in Europe: the first known cookbook was written by a Sicilian, 2500 years ago, give or take a bit.

I'm looking forward to experimenting with some of the more far-out dishes that Kevin mentioned; but so far I've stuck with a couple of simple favorites. I started the other night with a very basic pesto alla Trapanese (adapted slightly from Gabriele Franca, La Cucina di Trapani e Provincia.) It differs from the Genoese version by adding tomatoes and a little pepper, and by using almonds (so central to Sicilian cooking). For my money, it's better than "regular" pesto: it's more vibrant and bold, if a little less subtle. I don't have a photo, alas, but I've put the recipe up on RecipeGullet.

Edited by Andrew Fenton, 03 July 2006 - 07:37 PM.


#3 Ling

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 07:47 PM

I love the enthusiasm that is so apparent when both of you talk about Sicilian cuisine. I'm going to be busy tomorrow baking and cooking for 100 guests :blink: , but maybe I can whip up a little Sicilian lunch. :smile:

#4 FoodMan

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 10:10 AM

Finally, Sicily. I've never been there but this is undoubtedly one of my favorite regions. I doubt we will have trouble finding stuff to cook this month. The problem is actually finding the time and space to cook so many recipes and sweets.

My Italian/Sicilian liquerus sure are ready for an after dinner sip. Here is what I have so far:

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from left to right; green walnut (Nocino); wild strawberry (Fraguledda), actually I used a mixture of berries here due to the lack of the real thing with delicious results; Limoncello; and an Amaretto like liqueur of roasted almonds, insipid color I know, but tastes outstanding.

I also have Alkermes, but that is most certainly Florentine...so we'll leave it to another month :smile:

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#5 Pontormo

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 11:55 AM

Psyched here, too! Grew up in a largely Sicilian Italian-American neighborhood and have lived in others later, though, never, alas have I been further south than Naples.

Elie, I look forward to your meals.

Since it has been useful in the past, I am linking Kevin's nerdy resolution here on the entries related to Sicilian food. I am crossing my fingers for local eggplant at the farmers market before the month is through. Watermelon will appear shortly, I know.

A book I picked up some time back is Mimmetta Lomonte's Classic Sicilian Cooking which combines personal family history with recipes. I've not made much more than Condimento al Pescespada or swordfish sauce with pasta. Delicious!!! Eager to do more.

Back in December when I was baking gifts, I read Alberto's recipe for cookies filled with something special he brought back from Sicily. Tried to track down the ingredient in vain :sad:.

This past weekend, at Whole Foods :wub: (sometimes you do got to love them), I saw interesting jars on the top shelf. The labels said "Hazelnut" and "Almond Paste $9.99." However, when I got up on the ladder, I found a single jar of bright green pistachio paste which must have been put in the box by mistake. So it was given to me for free :cool: Now, WWLD :unsure:?*


*What Would Ling Do?
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The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#6 FoodMan

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 05:56 PM

here is my first Sicilian meal from Sunday.

Started of with Spaghetti with Almond-Pistachio Pesto from Italian Country Table. It has no cheese of any kind, just nuts, mint and olive oil. A very good combination and perfect summery pasta

The pesto in my "authentic" mortar
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finished dish
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The Secondo was a fresh gulf Red snapper baked in a salt crust. The fish was impeccably fresh and I stuffed it with some orange and lemon slices and herbs. This has to be one of the best ways to cook whole fish, reults in the juiciest most flavorful meat ever.
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On the side I served my take on a Sicilian potato salad. Basically boiled poatoes dressed with vinegar-sugar simmered onions and raisins, a good dose of olive oil of course. It actually was a very good combination.
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I also made Orange-Endive salad. PRetty and excellent as well. this recipe minus the endive is from Cucina Paradiso
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For dessert we had Espresso Granita topped with Grand Marnier spiked whipped cream. It really does not get any easier than that and the final result is a perfect summery dessert. Had more of that the next day for breakfast like they do in Palermo, or so I heard.
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Later that same night, ice cold Fraguledda.
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#7 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 06:35 PM

Elie, that's a great looking dinner. And absolutely, granita makes a great breakfast! I don't know what they do in Palermo, but in Messina, they serve it on a brioche with a nice big dollop of cream. Breakfast of champions!

Here's my dinner from Sunday. A little less ambitious, but it was pretty great...

Antipasto: prosciutto and melon. Okay, this isn't particularly Sicilian, but I had a really great cantaloupe... and some good Parma ham... and what was I gonna do with them?... and why am I apologizing? It was freaking awesome.

Primo: pennette alla Norma. Y'all probably know the history of this dish, created to honor Vincenzo Bellini (a Sicilian, from Catania) on the opening of his opera Norma. (We listened to Jane Eaglen's recording of Norma during this course.) It's another one of these simple dishes: eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, ricotta salata. But it's fantastic. (You'll have to take my word on the ingredients; this photo sorta over-emphasizes the ricotta...)

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Secondo: branzino al forno. Continuing on with a loose Catanese theme, I decided to make a simple fish preparation, of the sort that's really common in eastern Sicily. I'd actually planned to bake this with salt (great minds think alike!) but it turned out I didn't have enough in the pantry. So I stuffed it with lemon, garlic, fennel and herbs and baked it in a foil wrap. And it was pretty good.

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Contorno: asparagus with lemon and olive oil. As you can see, this dish got no respect: "Ma dai! This isn't Sicilian at all! I turn my nose up at your asparagus, signore!" What are you gonna do? It sure tasted good...

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#8 FoodMan

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Posted 04 July 2006 - 07:55 PM

Or maybe it is Messina I'm thinking of, yes the ones who eat it on brioche. I've done that before, but I had not time or forthought to bake brioche this time around.

Why isen't the Asparagus Sicilian? If a Sicilian had good asparagus, a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing might be all he (or she) would do. ok, maybe grill it first over hard wood...and skewer it with anchovies and sprinkle some Pantelleria capers on it...:smile:

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#9 Chufi

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 05:12 AM

Elie, that's a fantastic dinner. I think I'm going to make that pistachio pesto some time soon. Is there nothing else in there but nuts, mint and oil? I seem to see some reddish bits in the mortar?

Oh and it's so hot and humid here in Amsterda, that I am really craving that granita! Would make a great afternoon snack!

Andrew, that picture of the cat and the asparagus is hilarious. And the fish with fennel looks great.

I've planned a little Sicilian cooking for this evening, so more later!

#10 FoodMan

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 07:27 AM

Elie, that's a fantastic dinner. I think I'm going to make that pistachio pesto some time soon. Is there nothing else in there but nuts, mint and oil? I seem to see some reddish bits in the mortar?

Oh and it's so hot and humid here in Amsterda, that I am really craving that granita! Would make a great afternoon snack!

Andrew, that picture of the cat and the asparagus is hilarious. And the fish with fennel looks great.

I've planned a little Sicilian cooking for this evening, so more later!

View Post

Chile flakes probably. The pesto is:

Almonds
Pistachios
pinenuts
All nuts roasted

mint leaves
Chile flakes
salt
pepper
olive oil


Granita could not be easier, 3 cups espresso and 1 Cup sugar. That's all.

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#11 Pontormo

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 08:18 AM

Great meals, Elie & Andrew, both inspirational!

The salt crust is truly impressive. I've only baked potatoes in a salt bed before. I'll have to try this.

And yes, the gatto, so different from some of its less fortunate Roman peers, is adorable. Good thing you didn't try to pose it with the fish.

Since I have just started to read Buford's Heat, it's hard to read about stuffed branzino without thinking of the description of grilling them on a diagonal facing one way first, then flipped and placed in the opposite direction...
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#12 NYC Mike

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 08:30 AM

Wow nice start to the month!!

Elie, your drink selections look out of this world! That ice cold Fraguledda would be perfect in all this humidity we are having up here in NYC. I have a batch of lemoncello cooking using your recipe in the named thread, I can't wait!

mike
-Mike & Andrea


#13 Pontormo

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 09:10 AM

While we're all pretty familiar with the best web sites for recipes by now (and tend to stick to books anyway), I have found some interesting links to share. I'll post some recipes later, but for now, I will start with information:

Alas, 'tis not the season for blood oranges, but we have already acknowledged the importance of citrus fruit to Sicily. Here's what Slow Food thinks you might like to read.

As for pistachios, here's something on Bronte's claim to fame.

Here, you are smack in the middle of the the Museo devoted to our understanding of olive oil, including Sicily's role in securing its importance to Italian culture.

An article in Bon Appetit here.

Something from The NYT, still readable. For future reference, it's on pasta and written by Florence Fabricant, August 24, 2005.

The list would not be complete without a bow to Alberto and his entry on sfinciuni.
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#14 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 01:19 PM

I'll add to our Sicilian bookshelf The Leopard, by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. While it's not a cookbook (or about food per se) it's almost certainly the greatest novel written about Sicily, and it features a couple of great food-related scenes. Here's one, describing a dinner party and the dish of honor:

The Prince was too experienced to offer Sicilian guests, in a town of the interior, a dinner beginning with soup, and he infringed the rules of haute cuisine all the more readily as he disliked it himself.  But rumours of the barbaric foreign usage of serving an insipid liquid as first course had reached the notables of Donnafugata too insistently for them not to quiver with a slight residue of alarm at the start of a solemn dinner like this.  So when three lackeys in green, gold and powder entered, each holding a great silver dish containing a towering macaroni pie, only four of the twenty at table avoided showing pleased surprise; the Prince and Princess from foreknowledge, Angelica from affectation and Concetta from lack of appetite.  All the others (including Tancredi, I regret to say) showed their relief in varying ways, from the fluty and ecstatic grunts of the notary to the sharp squeak of Francesco Paolo.  But a threatening circular stare from the host soon stifled these improper demonstrations.

Good manners apart, though, the aspect of these monumental dishes of macaroni was worthy of the quivers of admiration they evoked.  The burnished gold of the crusts, the fragrance of sugar and cinnamon they exuded, were but preludes to the delights released from the interior when the knife broke the crust; first came a spice-laden haze, then chicken livers, hard boiled eggs, sliced ham, chicken and truffles in masses of piping hot, glistening macaroni, to which the meat juice gave an exquisite hue of suede.


I love how Tomasi uses the pie as a symbol of a peculiarly decadent Sicilian luxury-- no insipid French soups here!-- filled with spices and truffles and surrounded by gold. The reactions of the diners, and the miniature character sketches they provide, are also terrific.

Now, who's up for baking a big ol' macaroni pie?

Edited by Andrew Fenton, 06 July 2006 - 05:43 AM.


#15 Ling

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 07:39 PM

This past weekend, at Whole Foods :wub: (sometimes you do got to love them), I saw interesting jars on the top shelf.  The labels said "Hazelnut" and "Almond Paste $9.99."  However, when I got up on the ladder, I found a single jar of bright green pistachio paste which must have been put in the box by mistake.  So it was given to me for free :cool:  Now, WWLD :unsure:?*


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View Post


Honestly, my first thought would be to make pistachio mousse and layer it with puff pastry and make Napoleons. Or maybe pistachio-cream filled cannolis, half dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in crushed pistachios...isn't the almond paste used to cover cassata traditionally tinted with pistachio paste? You could do a modern cassata, with a pistachio pound cake, or maybe use the pistachio paste with the ricotta filling...or you could make pistachio ricotta fritters and dust them with icing sugar. The pistachio flavour should come out nicely because ricotta is very mild. What about a chocolate and pistachio semifreddo?

Awesome dinners, everyone. I was at the library today looking for Sicilian recipes...I haven't decided on what to make yet, but this sweet and sour eggplant dish caught my eye, and it looked very simple and different.

#16 mrbigjas

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 08:01 PM

While we're all pretty familiar with the best web sites for recipes by now (and tend to stick to books anyway)



i don't! i don't have the money to be buying more cookbooks at the moment... i love the websites.

accordingly, i did some searches, and this one is very much a work in progress, but is pretty cool where there actually are recipes.

#17 mrbigjas

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 08:04 PM

Now, who's up for baking a big ol' macaroni pie?




excellent idea. i'll be over next week.

#18 Pan

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 08:43 PM

I can see this topic will make for great viewing.

Elie and Andrew, great-looking meals! One question, Elie: Was there enough residual salt in the salt-baked fish for it to taste salty?

#19 Kevin72

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 03:21 AM

And we're off!

Elie, what liquor did you use, proportions, etc. for the digestivi?

I had meant to make at least a batch of limoncello for this month but time got away from me last month.

I love fish in a salt crust, too. May be my favorite fish presentation.

Great meal, also, Andrew. And that cat's expression is perfect.

Pontormo, if you check out Sweet Sicily by Victoria Granof, there's lots of recipes for pistachios, including a pistachio pastry cream.

Edited by Kevin72, 06 July 2006 - 03:23 AM.


#20 Chufi

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 04:21 AM

..I haven't decided on what to make yet, but this sweet and sour eggplant dish caught my eye, and it looked very simple and different.

View Post


A really good sweet & sour & spicy eggplant caponata is this Batali recipe. I have made it a couple of times and it's fantastic. And it even has chocolate as one of the ingredients :biggrin:

#21 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 05:42 AM

Okay, the Great Leopard Macaroni Pie Project begins today.

Step one: find a recipe. Online and in cookbooks, I'm mostly finding recipes for pasta 'ncasciata (aka "pasta incassata"), which is a specialty of Ragusa. Some of the recipes look pretty close to what's described: ham, chicken livers, eggs, with a nice ragu baked into the pie. But they all lack the sweet element. Maybe that's a difference between Ragusa and Palermo? Or maybe it's the difference between 2006 and 1860, and people just don't go for that kind of mixture any more. Or maybe it's Tomasi's fantasy or exaggeration.

ANYWAY, I have what looks like a good recipe in Le Ricette Regionali Italiane. But I'll keep looking for something that's closer to what's in the book.

Step two: find a mold. Hmm... time to do some shopping!

#22 Shaya

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 06:08 AM

..I haven't decided on what to make yet, but this sweet and sour eggplant dish caught my eye, and it looked very simple and different.

View Post


A really good sweet & sour & spicy eggplant caponata is this Batali recipe. I have made it a couple of times and it's fantastic. And it even has chocolate as one of the ingredients :biggrin:

View Post

I made it a month ago, and it was delicious:

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#23 Pontormo

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 06:45 AM

What a great photograph---chocolate in caponata? I overlooked that recipe, but plan to make something else from Batali tonight.

And thanks Kevin & Ling. I don't think my public librarires have that particular cookbook, but I am sure I'll come up with a filled cookie or pastry of sorts before the month is over.

MrBjas, as per your request, here are some of the Web sites I found that seem to have a wealth of recipes for Sicilian dishes. I am including Mario Batali's shows even though a quick search suggested that many of the ones originally posted by the Food Network have expired.

About Sicilian dishes.

Agrigento among other Sicilian towns; click around the site for different locations on the island.

Epicurious feature, though I don't think there are recipes tied to the article as was the case with Sardinia.

Cookaround.com

Virtual Italy

So-so site that starts out looking promising.
"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#24 Pontormo

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 06:57 AM

More:

Here and

Mr. Wright

and

Mario.

Interesting? I think I saw recipes, too.

And since Andrew mentioned The Leopard with relevant citation, here's a list of classic movies

set in Sicily; Criterion's new release of Visconti's movie based on the novel mentioned is worth renting for a night you're cooking Sicilian at home.

And if there IS anyone here who hasn't seen The Best of Youth, I'm nagging again.

Edited by Pontormo, 06 July 2006 - 06:59 AM.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.
The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

#25 mrbigjas

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 07:01 AM

wowzers. thanks pontormo!

#26 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 01:06 PM

And since Andrew mentioned The Leopard with relevant citation, here's a list of classic movies

set in Sicily; Criterion's new release of Visconti's movie based on the novel mentioned is worth renting for a night you're cooking Sicilian at home. 


Yeah, I just watched that the other night. Weird thing; the book is pretty short (200 pages or so), but the movie is really long- close to three hours. And it skips the last quarter of the book! But it has Burt Lancaster, aka "Andrew's favorite actor".

Anyway, that's a great list. I'll second the recommendation of Salvatore Giuliano: it's exciting! Maybe I'll rent that tonight: gonna make the Batali caponata, and that'd be a good match, I think.

#27 Ling

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 01:44 PM

Thanks for the link, Klary and Shaya! I couldn't make it last night, though, since I didn't have pine nuts on hand.

I made Sicilian sweet and sour calf's liver instead.

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I didn't use a recipe, but the pepper and onion combo was in several recipes I looked at, and I added some balsamic and stock while the onions were cooking down. The creaminess of the liver was delicious with the tangy accompaniment!

#28 Brad Ballinger

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 02:08 PM

Well, from one island to another, I guess. The wine world has seen a transformation of the wines that have been exported out of Sicily over the past decade or two. Typically, Sicily was known for Marsala DOC wines, which have always been more popular in Europe than in the United States. Marsala is a wine made in the same manner – sort of – as Sherry and Madeira. It’s fortified like Sherry and Madeira, and it also is exposed to oxygen during its maturation. The wine, made from grapes grown on the western tip of Sicily, is initially vinified dry and then fortified with additional alcohol that can come from a number of different sources, the origin of which affect the “quality” of the wine and how it must be labeled.

There are many different types of Marsala based on color, sweetness, and aging. Let’s start with color. Oro means golden, Ambra means amber, and Rubino means red or ruby. Oro and Ambra wines are made from white grapes and Rubino from black (red) grapes. All three come in Fine, Superiore, and Superiore Riserva designations. Fine wines must be aged of a minimum of one year in wood; Superiore wines a minimum of two years; Superiore Riserva wines a minimum of four years. These wines are usually fortified with some distilled grape alcohol as well as the must that was at one time part of the base wine. They will also be labeled Secco (dry), Semisecco (off-dry) or Dolce (sweet). That’s for the “basic” Marsala (as if that weren’t enough).

There’s a higher level of Marsala called Marsala Vergine. Only grape alcohol (no must) can be used to fortify these wines. Wines labeled Marsala Vergine must be aged in wood a minimum of five years, while wines labeled Marsala Vergine Stravecchio or Marsala Vergine Riserva must be aged a minimum of ten years. These may also carry the labels oro, ambra, rubino, secco, semisecco, or dolce. The dry Vergine wines are usually enjoyed as an aperitif, and the sweet ones as a dessert wine or digestif.

So, yes, you can get different types of Marsala other than the basic “sweet” and “dry” ones from Cantine Florio that we all use for cooking. Florio, by the way, makes Marsala of all types, and they make more than just Marsala.

Another DOC from the region that produces stunning sweet wines is Moscato di Pantelleria. There is also a DOC called Moscato Passito di Pantelleria, which also goes by the name of just Passito di Pantelleria. Pantelleria is a tiny island off the southwest coast of Sicily. The muscat grapes grown here are usually called zibibbo. The wines are luscious and sweet. Some are labeled “liquoroso,” which means they’ve been fortified. Some are labeled “extra,” which means they’ve been aged a minimum of 14 months. Some are labeled “liquoroso extra,” which means – well, you can figure it out. These wines are usually bottled in 375ml or 500ml volume.

One Passito di Pantelleria wine that can be found with relative ease is from Donnafugata and is called “Ben Rye” (rye is pronounce ree – eh). It’s Arabic for “son of the wind” and refers to the windy conditions in which the grapes grow and dry. Given that Panterlleria is very close to north African coast, perhaps the Arabic name is no surprise. Which leads us to another Passito di Pantelleria with an Arabic name – di Bartoli’s “Bukkuram,” which is Arabic for “father of the vineyard.” The wine will cost about twice as much as Ben Rye (but it’s a 500ml), and in my opinion it is indeed twice as good – not to take anything away from Ben Rye.

One other DOC wine that deserves mention is Cerasuolo di Vittoria, made from frappato and nero d’avola grapes grown in the province of Ragusa on the southern part of Sicily. Cerasuolo di Vittoria is a hearty red table wine than can be cellar-aged for many years. “Cerasuolo” means “cherry-colored,” which describes the color of the wine – not quite as dark as some other red wines. Planeta makes a very nice one, although probably not as age-worthy as some others, as does Valle dell’Acate.

But at the beginning of this post I mentioned a “transformation.” Many of the wines from Sicily – and most of the “new” ones – simply carry the Sicilia IGT designation. The reds are usually nero d’avola, and some syrah and cabernet sauvignon, and the whites can be chardonnay or made from the same white grapes that go into marsala – catarratto, ansonica, grillo. A couple of well-regarded producers of these types of wines are Donnafugata and Valle dell’Acate. Planeta is a prolific producer of these wines in the area, and the price tags will generally be a bit lower. One wine to try for a fun summer sipper is Donnafugata’s Anthilia made from 50% cataratto and 50% ansonica.

So Sicily is fast becoming known for more than just Marsala. Pretty soon, people may forget about Marsala altogether. Who knows?
We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

#29 Andrew Fenton

Andrew Fenton
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Posted 06 July 2006 - 02:38 PM

I made Sicilian sweet and sour calf's liver instead.


Did you ever! That looks amazing.

#30 Kevin72

Kevin72
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Posted 06 July 2006 - 03:08 PM

Thanks as always for the wine info, Brad. Any experience with malvasia? In Dallas we have a hard time coming by the dessert wines due to the alcohol content, and so don't get much beyond marsala for sweet Sicilian wines.





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