Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The Cooking and Cuisine of Sicily


Recommended Posts

I'm not ready to leave the islands!  :cool:

We ate a Sicilian lunch on the roof today.  As I was heading up the stairs with the food on a tray, I told my husband that we were having a sort of deconstructred cous cous.  Without looking up, he said, "Don't worry, I'm sure it will still taste good."  Sort of puts the whole 'hoity-toity' cuisine thing in perspective, don't you think?

So, deconstructed cous cous as follows:

Agrumi scented couscous

Fresh, hot, spicy tomato salsa (as in "Whoa!" hot)

Tiny little crispy fish fillets (don't worry, all the heads and bones went into the brodetto)

A bottle of Planeta's La Segreta (we discovered the 'secret' of La Segreta...when you open a bottle, you will finish a bottle)

Fresh figs for desert.

Deconstructed

gallery_14010_3559_376413.jpg

Constructed

gallery_14010_3559_237969.jpg

Figs from our neighbors trees

gallery_14010_3559_471141.jpg

Judith, I really like your lunch, looks so much better than my simple salad!

Link to post
Share on other sites
So, Alberts, don't keep us hanging! What did you have for lunch???

Well, I would guess that lunch was probably a slice of pizza, but dinner was involtini di pesce spada using the missing half of the fish below.

gallery_8196_3597_54356.jpg

Followed by one of these deserts

gallery_8196_3597_243211.jpg

I might add that, in my opinion, there is something utterly unique about deserts in Sicily. Even the same item prepared elsewhere in Italy doesn't compare. I'm not sure why.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Franci! It was a gorgeous, sunny, almost Sicilian kind of day.

Alberts: keep those photos and deserts coming! YUM!!!

The pesce de spada is soooo good. Does anyone know, is it politically incorrect to eat Sicilian swordfish? Meaning, is the swordfish population stable and plentiful or over fished.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

(And uh I trust a pecker is um a picker?)

From my understanding based on a Batali show with a similar recipe, it's a play on a variety of bird called a fig-pecker because that's what it eats (hey, we actually discussed it earlier in this very thread in fact!). Somehow it's evolved along the way to be made with sardines, but in the same style as they cook the birds.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Small birds are extremely popular in Italy, to the point that places like the Tuscan countryside are strangely silent (somewhere in my Tuscan blog, there is a photogrpah of some sparrows on sale). There is a whole range of dishes that reflect this. Either things that would go with cooked small birds or dishes that have some resemblance to the cooked birds.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Small birds are extremely popular in Italy, to the point that places like the Tuscan countryside are strangely silent (somewhere in my Tuscan blog, there is a photogrpah of some sparrows on sale). There is a whole range of dishes that reflect this. Either things that would go with cooked small birds or dishes that have some resemblance to the cooked birds.

"BECCAFICO" cannot be caught anymore. It is forbiden by the law, but in some places they still do. It is actually a migratory species and it is not really the Garden Warbler

Ciao

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
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.

gallery_7973_3014_226018.jpg

gallery_7973_3014_668694.jpg

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!

Nice crust!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Just a quick note to say that I finally ended up using my precious organic Sicilian pistachio paste to bake sniff, Alberto's gorgeous cookies for Christmas. Mine were not as luxurious in that I used almond meal insted of the more refined and delicate almond flour. However, I poked the still-soft bottoms of each cookie as soon as they came out of the oven, so I could stuff the centers of the sandwiches with that much more paste. So pretty, and so good. So, grazie mille, albiston!!!

I still have about a tablespoon or so left, ummm...

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

Link to post
Share on other sites

That sounds really good, Pontormo!

We fooled around with almonds too...a sort of chopped almond candied with orange peel.

But...I went back to Sicilian granita-ville for Christmas Eve desserts:

fennel/rum

compari/limonata

espresso with sweet cream

These deserts are simple and palate cleansing after a heavy, long meal. Can't wait to find some decent blood oranges!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you remember in the summer when we were eating swordfish, and capers, and tomatoes and pine nuts? With mint.

This is a winter version. I'm going to go to the 'not-eating-in-season' purgatory....I'm sure, but it was worth it.gallery_14010_2363_33172.jpg

Edited by hathor (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hathor, that looks great. I also have swordfish on my mind.

I'm thinking of making this Swordfish impanata

The crust is very special, flavored with orange zest & juice, sugar and white wine. A bit sweet, which is a perfect counterpart to the spicy salty hearty filling. I think swordfish and salted capers are a match made in heaven and this dish makes the most of that lovely flavor combination. Everyone should try this! (I'll gladly Pm the recipe  :biggrin: )

gallery_21505_2929_17617.jpg

the star of a very special dinner I'm planning. It's a big dinner for about 12-15 people.

Now, I'm having a hard time picturing this pie within a menu. What to serve before, after, with it? I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask but I thought I'd start here.

Edited by Chufi (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Chufi!

12-15 people is already a pretty big number, also as Kevin, I would consider serving it as appetizer if you don't want to end up buying a huge quantity of swordfish.

I'd consider some possibilities:

1. rustic dinner and go tapas style: croquettes (potatoes crocchè and milk crocchè, these are croquettes made with a very thick besciamelle and egg yolk and parmigiano, a very thick mornay); panelle; arancine; your impanata, scacce, some vegetable like fried pumpkin etc.

2. impanata as appetizer, anelletti , a nice mix of fried fish with vegetables and a ricotta tart.

3. Impanata, some light fish soup and a baccala' alla messinese, cannoli or cassatine

3. Impanata and a traditional fish cous cous, a cassata light, or a pistacchio and ricotta ring or againg a ricotta tart

Link to post
Share on other sites

Franci, welcome back! Great suggestions.

Klary, I think the idea of making 1-2 large impanatoni :unsure: would work, too, if you cut them in wedges. It's just that it would be kind of fun to hold the individual impanatini.

Hathor, your photo got me into the mood for Sicilian fish this weekend when I was surprised by fresh sardines sitting on ice at Whole Foods. One of my favorite dishes during the Sicilian month was pasta with fennel and sardines...

I ended up making something Venetian, so I will have to wait to report.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ciao!

Chufi, what if you served the swordfish as a small fish course? I like the idea of individual servings...easier to plate quickly, IMHO. Your dinner parties always look like so much fun.

I've been craving some spicy Sicilian swordfish couscous....

(Pontormo: I also cheated and made some Venetian style sardines! Must be something in the air. :laugh::laugh: )

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

Come summer, my cooking interests invariably turn Sicilian. The fact that I spent one July making almost exclusively Sicilian dishes is what inspired, eventually, my yearlong cooking project and then by extension, these threads.

Here's the chickpea flour fritters so popular in Sicily:

gallery_19696_582_1063924.jpg

To follow, I made pollo all'vin cotto, chicken with "cooked wine", from Mario's Molto Italiano book. Chicken is braised with standard aromatics, chilies, cinnamon, and a cooked red wine syrup, then finished with vinegar and honey. It is such a well-layered dish and the exotic smell it fills your house with on a Sunday is worth the effort alone. I served it with couscous with almonds and raisins and spicy broccoli with lemon:

gallery_19696_582_155400.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By AlaMoi
      okay, it's spelled many ways.  that's not the point here....
      I'm working on the perfect sauce/cooking liquid/+other things combo for a delectable dish.  
      I don't have problems with the meat - I can get good shanks, browned nicely, they come out tender and tasty.
      it's the in-pot accompaniments that disappoint.  I done multiple versions of 'trinity,' tried tomato based/adds, tried various seasonings.  I've served it with rice, pasta, barley, faro as the 'side reinforcement.'
      there was a little resto in North Henderson / Patrick Lane(?) that did "my ideal" knock-em-dead version, I've never been able to duplicate the taste.
      anyone have a super-version?  am I missing some magic spicing classic to the real Italian deal?
    • By Melania
      It's one o'clock on a warm summer's day in Florence, I'm on my way to get ingredients for lunch. The sun is high in the sky, the cobblestones are warm under my feet and the aroma of something delicious is in the air. My mind starts to drift to the onions, celery and tomatoes I need for my pasta sauce, oh and don't forget something sweet for dessert...this truly is la dolce vita.
       
      My thoughts are soon interrupted by an unwelcome "chiuso" sign on the door of my new favorite deli. The blinds are closed and the friendly owners are nowhere in sight. The reality of having my favorite pasta dish for lunch was slipping further and further away.
       
       
      What a nightmare! How can this be?
        A local passing by must have noticed my frustration.   "Signorina, è riposo. Tutto è chiuso!"
        Of course! How could I forget about the sacred Italian siesta?
        A siesta or riposo, as most Italians call it, is a time of rest. This time is usually around midday, or the hottest part of the day (very inconvenient if you're craving a bowl of pasta.) No one can really say where the tradition of the siesta originates, but many say it's all about food (no surprises there really).
        For many Italian families the main meal of the day is lunch. This heavy meal in the middle of the day is attributed to the standard Mediterranean diet: A minuscule breakfast of a coffee and pastry , a heavy lunch and an evening meal around 10 o'clock. The logic is that after such a heavy meal one would surely be drowsy and need to rest, no one can work efficiently on a full stomach!
        Post offices, car rentals, supermarkets and even coffee shops (in some smaller towns police stations too) all close their doors for a riposo. Everything comes to a standstill as every Italian goes home to kick of their shoes, enjoy a homemade lunch with family and bask in the Italian sunshine for three to four hours. This is serious business. One would not dare work for 8 hours straight. After their riposo most businesses open again around 4 o'clock and stay open till 7pm. Its the perfect balance between work and play and does wonders for your digestive system!
        "Grazie!" I thanked her for the reminder. The midday sun started to become unbearable. The streets had cleared with only a few tourists braving the midday heat still around. I thought about the strawberries I bought from the market earlier that week. Strawberries for lunch on my shaded balcony and maybe a nap afterwards sounded like my perfect riposo. The pasta will have to wait till 4.
               
           
    • By liuzhou
      Perhaps the food-related question I get asked most through my blog is “What's it like for vegetarians and vegans in China. The same question came up recently on another thread, so I put this together. Hope it's useful. It would also, be great to hear other people's experience and solutions.
       
      For the sake of typing convenience I’m going to conflate 'vegetarians and vegan' into just 'vegetarian' except where strictly relevant.
       
      First a declaration of non-interest. I am very carnivorous, but I have known vegetarians who have passed through China, some staying only a few weeks, others staying for years. Being vegetarian in China is a complicated issue. In some ways, China is probably one of the best countries in which to be vegetarian. In other ways, it is one of the worst.
       
      I spent a couple of years in Gorbachev-era Russia and saw the empty supermarkets and markets. I saw people line up for hours to buy a bit of bread.  So, when I first came to China, I kind of expected the same. Instead, the first market I visited astounded me. The place was piled high with food, including around 30 different types of tofu, countless varieties of steamed buns and flat breads and scores of different vegetables, both fresh and preserved, most of which I didn't recognise. And so cheap I could hardly convert into any western currency. If you are able to self-cater then China is heaven for vegetarians. For short term visitors dependent on restaurants or street food, the story is very different.
       
      Despite the perception of a Buddhist tradition (not that strong, actually), very few Chinese are vegetarian and many just do not understand the concept. Explaining in a restaurant that you don't eat meat is no guarantee that you won't be served meat.
       
      Meat is seen in China as a status symbol. If you are rich, you eat more meat. And everyone knows all foreigners are rich, so of course they eat meat! Meat eating is very much on the rise as China gets more rich - even to the extent of worrying many economists, food scientists etc. who fear the demand is pushing up prices and is environmentally dangerous. But that's another issue. Obesity is also more and more of a problem.
       
      Banquet meals as served in large hotels and banquet dedicated restaurants will typically have a lot more meat dishes than a smaller family restaurant. Also, the amount of meat in any dish will be greater in the banquet style places.
       
      Traditional Chinese cooking is/was very vegetable orientated. I still see my neighbours come home from the market with their catch of greenery every morning. However, whereas meat wasn't the central component of dinner, it was used almost as a condiment or seasoning. Your stir fried tofu dish may come with a scattering of ground pork on top, for example. This will not usually be mentioned on the menu. Simple stir fried vegetables are often cooked in lard (pig fat) to 'improve' the flavour.
      Another problem is that the Chinese word for meat (肉), when used on its own refers to pork. Other meats are specified, eg (beef) is 牛肉, literally cattle meat. What this means is that when you say you don't eat meat, they often think you mean you don't eat pork (something they do understand from the Chinese Muslim community), so they rush off to the kitchen and cook you up some stir fried chicken! I've actually heard a waitress saying to someone that chicken isn't meat. Also, few Chinese wait staff or cooks seem to know that ham is pig meat. I have also had a waitress argue ferociously with me that the unasked for ham in a dish of egg fried rice wasn't meat.
       
      Also, Chinese restaurant dishes are often given have really flowery, poetic names which tell you nothing of the contents. Chinese speakers have to ask. One dish on my local restaurant menu reads “Maternal Grandmother's Fluttering Fragrance.” It is, of course, spicy pork ribs!
       
      Away from the tourist places, where you probably don't want to be eating anyway, very few restaurants will have translations of any sort. Even the best places' translations will be indecipherable. I have been in restaurants where they have supplied an “English menu”, but if I didn't know Chinese would have been unable to order anything. It was gibberish.
       
      To go back to Buddhism and Taoism, it is a mistake to assume that genuine followers of either (or more usually a mix of the two) are necessarily vegetarian. Many Chinese Buddhists are not. In fact, the Dalai Lama states in his autobiography that he is not vegetarian. It would be very difficult to survive in Tibet on a vegetarian diet.
       
      There are vegetarian restaurants in many places (although the ones around where I am never seem to last more than six months). In the larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai they are more easily findable.
       
      Curiously, many of these restaurants make a point of emulating meat dishes. The menu reads like any meat using restaurant, but the “meat” is made from vegetable substitutes (often wheat gluten or konjac based).
       
      To be continued
    • By Shelby
      Thanks to @blue_dolphin, I was forced to buy this cookbook  and it was delivered today.  No matter how hard I try, I just don't super enjoy cookbooks on my Kindle.  Anyway, I'll most likely be alone on this thread due to low okra likability lol, but I'm an only child and I'm used to being alone 😁
       
       

       
       First on the list will be the Kimchi Okra from page 100--as suggested by @blue_dolphin.
       
      I'll be back on this thread soon  
    • By Bhukhhad
      Breakfast in India vs Breakfast in our homes outside India
      My breakfasts have varied from the time I started to cook for myself instead of just enjoying my Mother’s cooking. At first they were a mix-match of meal fixings, or just dinner leftovers. Or the good old breakfast cereal and milk. But as the years passed and I was more organized, the meals I enjoyed in my Mother’s home began to swim in my memories. And I began to prepare those for my family. However, I am no amazonian chef, so depending on  the hectic nature of the days plans, I switched back and forth from convenience with taste, to elaborate and of course tasty breakfasts. We do have both vegetarian and non vegetarian foods but Indian breakfasts will mostly be vegetarian. 
      So here are some of the things I might make: 
       
      1. Poha as in mostly ‘kande pohe’.
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
      3. Masala toast
      4. Indian Omelette
      5. Handwo piece
      6. Thepla
      7. Vaghareli rotli
      8. Dhokla chutney
      9. Idli sambhar
      10. Leftover sabji
      11. Muthiya
      12. Khakhra
      13. Upma
      14. Paratha
       
      1. Kande Pohe: 
      The dish derives its name from Maharashtra where the Kande Pohe are celebrated as breakfast. They can of course like any breakfast, be eaten at any time. 
      Pohe/ Poha are steamed rice grains that have been beaten flat and then again redried. So they are like Rice flakes. Except they are hand pounded, so have a knobbly texture. 
      You get several varieties in the market. I prefer the thick white variety. 
       
      1 cup dry poha per person
      1 medium onion sliced
      1/2 jalapeno deseeded
      1 sprig curry leaves
      2 small garlic cloves
      1/4 t cumin seeds
      1/2 lemon 
      1/8 t asafoetida
      1/4 t turmeric
      small handful of cilantro leaves
      1T fresh grated coconut
      2 T Peanut oil 
      salt to taste
      sugar to taste
       
      In a pan heat some oil and add cumin seeds. When the seeds sputter, add sliced onions and stir. Saute on medium heat till they turn slightly browned here and there. Do not burn the onions. 
      Meanwhile wash the Poha in a colander and drain. Do this two or three times to get rid of any dirt and also to allow them to rehydrate. They do not need soaking. Fluff the poha with a fork. Add salt sugar turmeric asafoetida and chopped cilantro. Mix and set aside. 
      Once the onions are ready add minced garlic and chopped jalapeno along with the curry leaf sprig. 
      Turn the heat to low and add the poha mixture. Stir to coat and to allow the turmeric and asafoetida to cook. The poha will turn mildly yellow and start giving a wonderful fragrance. 
      Turn off the heat. Fluff gently and plate. Garnish with fresh grated coconut and a squeeze of lemon juice. 
      Finger licking good!! 
      Now when I make this next I will post a picture. 
      Update: Ok I felt the urge to have Kande Pohe for tonight’s dinner. So here is a picture. I am certain to enjoy it for breakfast as well. The measurement of 1 cup poha per person is too much for one meal. But carried over to another meal thats super good! I will also have some stir fried bok choy greens made in the same kadhai after the poha was done, and some cooked and sliced beetroot for salad. My family will add some haldiram sev on the poha for extra crunch! And we will all have some chaas to round off this meal. 
      *************
       
      2. Cheela/ Pudla
       
      These are essentially crepes but in the Indian style. 
      1/2 cup sieved garbanzo bean (Besan) flour. 
      Water to form a thin batter
      1T plain yogurt 
      1/2 t ginger garlic paste 
      1/4 or less green chili crushed
      2 t heated oil *
      pinch asafoetida
      pinch turmeric 
      salt to taste
      chopped cilantro (two sprigs)
      some ‘masala’ from a readymade pickle
       
       
      Method:
       
      mix the ingredients together except oil. Heat oil in a separate pan and add about 1 to 2 t of the hot oil onto the batter. It will sizzle. Use a whisk to stir thoroughly. The batter should be pouring consistency. 
      Let the batter soak for about half an hour if possible. 
      On a hot griddle, pour a ladle full of the batter. Turn the griddle with your wrist to spread the batter around. Cook on moderate to high flame. Flip the crepe when all the sides look like they are ready. You can add a little oil to the sides of the frying pan to make the edges crispy. 
       
      In my home we usually have a Besan cheela with some yogurt its a quick and filling breakfast. You can have a small salad or fruit with it to make it more complete. Or fill the center of the cheela with some cottage cheese and fold for added creaminess! 
      ****************
      3. Masala Toast : 
       
      1 slice of bread (your choice) toasted
      1/2 small red onion minced
      1 medium roma tomato diced (or whatever you have)
      cilantro (few leaves)
      1/8 t cumin (optional)
      1/4 t chaat masala ( available in stores)
      1 inch cube paneer
      1 T peanut oil
      pinch turmeric (optional)
       
      Heat the oil in a pan and saute the onions. Add the tomato and cook down to mush. Crumble the paneer and add the dry spices. Stir for a few seconds to warm the paneer. Add the cilantro and though I have not written it as an ingredient, I like a few drops of lemon juice. Do not overcook paneer.
      I started this topic because someone asked for Indian recipes on the new forum. I don’t think they have seen any yet. I hope they find this useful. I am enjoying it. 
      **************************
       
      I will add recipes to the list slowly. I have to however add that after a certain ‘age’ I have now resorted to having to make sure I have three things for breakfast besides coffee: a glass of water, a small portion of fruit and a small portion of some protein not necessarily meat. 
      Bhukkhad
       

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...