If you visited Palermo you surely know the Spleen Sandwich ( in Italian it si called Pani ca’ Meusa). Maybe what you are not aware of is that this recipe was introduced by Jewish people who lived there during the year 1000 as many of them worked like butchers. They did not waste anything of the cow meat, so they also use to sell the organs and offal.
If you go to the Teatro Massimo in Palermo and use the guide service, you will discover some interesting stuff: first of all the theater was built as a tribute to King Vittorio Emanuele III, but the ruler snubbed it, although the Royal Palco still exists today – and it’s accessible to all, booking it in advance -. The king, following some rumours, found such a luxurious theater a bit excessive for a city like Palermo. Of course, he wasn’t right, infact nowadays the Teatro Massimo is famous not just in Italy but also in the rest of the world.
The legend of the ghost of Teatro Massimo in Palermo
Among the many stories that are told there is one in particular that tells of a nun, or rather, of her ghost that makes people stumble when they descend from the last step of one of the internal stairs. The nun would cause people who do not believe her ghost to fall for revenge. Moreover, it would be wandering because churches were destroyed in order to build the theater
The Sicilian provincial capital is, undoubtedly, a city full of contradictions: full of amazing monuments – the Cathedral, which in some ways resembles that of Canterbury, and then still the Palazzo dei Normanni which recalls their presence in about 1100: the church of Santa Maria dell’Ammiraglio with its romanesque style, but flanked by arabeggianti constructions; and then again the Church of San Cataldo and, for those who love art, until 4 November the opportunity to admire the contemporary art of Manifesta. And then the streets, popular – sometimes dirty, this is the real sin of the city – and full of potholes.
But food, that’s something you can not absolutely forget.
And we tasted a lot on our Sicilian tour. In particular, as far as street food is concerned, you can not taste the sandwich with the spleen and the various panes full of fry, but also arancini with pistachios, prawns and caciocavallo – but just to name a few. Or the busiate with dried tomatoes and pine nuts.
In Palermo we stopped for a single day and we “walked” it for good: it goes without saying that it deserves to be reviewed and to linger a bit longer (TLCCJ)
Our summer trip on the road in Sicily, after leaving the valley of the Temples, continued towards the north-west: there we arrived in Capaccio, a hamlet of San Vito Lo Capo.
Here the sea, as everyone knows, is wonderful. At the beach with Zoe, we had fun snorkelling and watching the thousands of shimmering little fish moving mechanically, as suddenly, from place to place. It is fascinating to be absent under the surface of the sea. Below you live in a dull and dreamlike dimension, above the water was broken and shaken by the waves.
In Capaccio, we ate for the first time the typical sicilian Pane Cunzato – I knew its origin and the ingredients, but I had never tasted it before. Taste it from a greengrocer on a bench seated with some natives returning from work in the fields, it was an experience full of emotions.
It is from the food that you understand a region and this strip of land, a valley that for its huge olive plantations that make it look like Puglia, is populated by hospitable and generous people. And it is always here that, for the first time, we had dinner in a home restaurant discovered by chance, while walking on the main course. A large veranda kitchen surrounded by a citrus arbor.
How can we forget the caponatina, the octopus salad and potatoes, but above all the fish cous cous made with the broth of poor fish – ed which is also the way that you make the fish soup -?
Here, if I had to reconnect this fraction of San Vito to a memory, it would be, more than in other places visited during this holiday, afferent to the sphere of food that satisfies the senses and memory. (VM)
The Sicilian cuisine has been influenced by the many cultures. Couscous is a traditional moroccan dish; in Sicily it is prepared with fish and it’s soooooo Good :D.
300 g of couscous
250 grams of redfish
1 onion and 1 clove of garlic
6 large shrimps
300 grams of tomato pulp
400 grams of mullet
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh parsley
1 or 2 spoons virgin olive oil
Wash, gut and remove the central bone and head of the fish. Prepare a brot with the fish scraps, the mussels, the peeled onion, the celery and the laurel. Cover with water and cook for about 1 hour. At the end filter the broth and cut the fish in slices.
In a saucepan, add a bit of oil and cook the chopped garlic, the parsley and the shrimps. Add the tomato sauce and cook with salt and pepper for 10 minutes. Add the fish and the saffron and cook it for about 15 minutes.
Prepare the cous cous and cook it in a pan covered with the fish broth. Cover it an let it sit for 10 minutes.
At the end pour the fish sauce and serve it hot.
Buon appetito! (TLCCJ)
The falsomagro is a typical Sicilian recipe. It is a dish of French origin called “farci de maigre” and it’s a dish that you easily find on the table on sunday for lunch.
4 slices of veal
1 small onion or italiano cipollotto
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 slices of Mortadella not too thin
200 gr of Cacio Cavallo cheese or Fontina
1 liter Tomato Sauce
q.s. Extra virgin olive oil
Roll out the slice of veal on the work surface and place the mortadella slice over it, so that half of this comes out of the meat, this way when you finish adding all the ingredients you can close it to the book. Boil the eggs till they are hard. It is necessary to proceed in layers. Add one slice of mortadella, add the cheese in pieces and the eggs. Continue with one of sliced caciocavallo cheese, or fontina and the cipollotto cut in small pieces. Fold the mortadella slice over the sauce and roll it up like a roll. Close it with kitchen string. In a pan, brown a clove of garlic in a generous amount of oil, brown the falsomagro from all sides, in order to seal the meat well, remove the garlic and add the tomato sauce. Salt and cook over medium heat until the sauce has shrunk, it will take about an hour. Let it cool a little, remove the net and cut it into slices. Add a bit of tomato sauce and buon appettito! (TLCCJ)
My story about the journey made a few weeks ago in Sicily – and beyond – goes on and it’s the turn of the Valley of the Temples
Moving from Portopalo di Capopassero to Agrigento took about 3 hours by car. The journey resembles a trip on the road, given the type of landscape that goes through a lot of western style.
But the arrival at the Valley of the Temples was spectacular. The advice that I dare to challenge is to go there at night, because during the day, if you are in August, the first concerns you with 35 degrees in the shade and becomes really unpleasant: no, you would not enjoy these temples.
Secondly, go there in the evening, when in the dark, from a distance, you see the columns and the remains of the Magna Graecia illuminated in the night appear: if you do it, you will be breathless.
Without considering the magic of the buzz of people moving in the dark. The sensation, not at all frightening, is purely spiritual that it is a journey through time touched by the souls of those who have lived or walked in those spaces.
Another suggestion that I feel to be challenging is near, at dinner in Favara, a town that climbs up the hills near the valley where, as you arrive up to the main square, rarely populated by churches, you will change your mind. A riot of colors, sounds, typical restaurants and wonderful nights to experience a Sicilian night.
The recipe dedicated to Valle dei Templi is FALSOMAGRO (and I’ll publish it tomorrow ;)) (TLCCJ)
The Arancini recipe is a typical recipe from Sicily. In Portopalo and Sicily I ate so many last summer. Sometimes, it depends on where you are, they are also called “arancine”. However the name is inspired to the orange shape of the rice ball. It’s yummy and it deserves to be tasted once – and more – in a lifetime. If you want, you can follow this recipe, but the advice is: go to Sicily and eat them there 😉
Recipe for 10 balls:
800ml meat stock
250g arborio rice
a bit of salt and a pinch of saffron
50g parmesan chees grated
150g mozzarella, chopped into pieces
Meat ragu or ham
Extra vergine oil for frying the balls
Prepare a risotto with safron – not boiled, because I know that some people think that boiled rice and risotto recipe are the same. Well: it’s not!!! – .
When the risotto is cold, start to create medium rice balls and fill them with the pieces of mozzarella cheese and the meat ragu – or cut ham -. After you beat the egg, flour and water, melt the balls and then use the breadcrumbs for covering each ball.
Heat the extravergin oil in a deep pan and dip each rice ball. Cook in batches until golden brown and drain on kitchen paper towel.