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Sep 21, 2006 01:02 PM

Typical Sicilian ????

Anyone know what would be typical Sicilan, a dish,a meal etc as well as street fare.As an American of Sicilan heritage I know foods vary from region to region as well as opinions on whats typical.I remember my Grandmother and her friends having some heated debates,Thanks

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  1. Hhhhmmm. Caponata is a Sicilian specialty. I'd also say anything with anchovies or anything with other types of salted/cured fish has some Sicilian influence for sure. Try seasoned breadcrumbs over pasta. Very sicilian, and very interesting. Sicilians also have great respect for their citrus trees. Recipes with citrus would be considered good too.

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    1. There's a great cookbook, Sicilian Home Cooking by mother and daughter, Wanda and Giovanna Tornabene. It's fun to read and has some good recipes. Recipes from Gangivecchio, their abbey in Sicily's Madonie Mountains. The mother has written others as well.
      Unfortunately, our ingredients often can't compare with what you'd find in Sicily, especially the dairy products!

      1. Anything stuffed and rolled, particularly seafood.
        See Batali's swordfish involtini.

        Also, more than other regions of Italy, sweets are very important including marzipan. When I visited Taormina, nearly every store-front had beautiful marzipan decoratives.

        Foods with spices like cinnamon and other African influences are prevalent because the region is closer to Africa than Milan.

        1. I wish that I shared your Sicilian heritage--my knowledge of Sicilian cooking comes from reading and an all-too-brief trip to eastern Sicily and Lipari.

          One of my favorite books about Sicilian food is Mary Taylor Simeti's Pomp and Sustenance, but that might be less of a cookbook (and more like a textbook) than many people would want.

          Some of my favorite Sicilian recipes are:

          Pasta con le sarde and its correlary, pasta con le sarde a mare (pasta with sardines in which the sardines are still in the sea)
          Pasta alla Norma (a pasta with eggplant recipe from Catania, the birthplace of Vincenzo Bellini, and named for his most famous opera)
          Arancini di riso

          Dolci are definitely important:

          The ingredients I think of as being typical of Sicilian food are:
          wild fennel
          smoked ricotta

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nettie

            You can add Raisins to your list of Sicilian ingredients. Add they are often added to savory dishes Such as Beef Brasciole stuffed with garlic pecorino breadcrumb and raisins.

            1. re: Nettie

              I learned something new today - I didn't realize that there is Sicilian bottarga in addition to Sardinian bottarga. From what I read, it seems as if the Sicilians prefer the tuna roe and the Sardinians the gray mullet roe.


            2. Arancini. It's like the official national dish of "S'gilia".

              Sicilian cooking uses a lot more hot pepper and garlic than other places -- if you have hot pepper, garlic, olives, capers and anchovies in your dish, it's definitely Sicilian.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Mimmetta Lo Monte's Classic Sicilian Cookbook" is good and a fun read.