Last month I wrote an introduction to Sicilian food! That article was but a glimpse of all this island has to offer, here is my follow up with three more recipes for you all to try.
Whilst you may think Sicilian food mirrors Italian food, this is not always the case. Sicily has its own distinct cuisine, culture, traditions and even language, all influenced by those who once claimed the island as their own. The food born from the island not only has roots in Italian cuisine, but also French, Arabic, Greek and North African.
Most of the food Sicilian’s eat come from locally grown sources, meaning their diet is representative of the terrain, with staples including capers, tomatoes, olives, aubergines and seafood. Popular herbs found in many dishes include capers, fennel, garden sage, jasmine, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, wild thyme and saffron.
Here are three of my personal favourite Sicilian dishes. Buono appetito!
Panelle are a vegan street food, most popularly found in Palermo, and are Arabic in origin. They are deep fried fritters made only from chickpea flour, often eaten by themselves, but can also be partnered with arancini!
- 500g chickpea flour
- 1.5L ice cold water
- 2 tbsp of chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Place the ice-cold water into a cold pot with the chickpea flour and stir. It’s important this mixture is constantly vigorously stirred throughout the whole process or you will get lumps.
- Add some salt and pepper and place the pot over a medium heat, constantly stirring.
- When the mixture begins to thicken and boil, cook for another 10-12 min, still stirring.
- You will know when it is cooked when the mixture is firm and compact. Mix in the parsley.
- Spread the mixture onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and spread it so it’s about 2-3 mm thick.
- Allow the mixture to completely cool and set (this should take about an hour). Cut them into squares or any shape of your choice, any size you would like.
- Fill a large pot with enough vegetable oil so that you can deep fry the panelle. You can check the oil is hot enough by placing a wooden spoon into the oil; bubbles around the spoon should form. Deep fry the panelle until they are golden brown on both sizes – this should take about 11-12 min.
Pasta con Broccoli (Pasta with Sicilian Cauliflower):
A vegetarian pasta dish filled with many flavours and textures typical of the Palermo area. In Sicilian “broccoli” actually means cauliflower whereas in the rest of Italy it means broccoli!
- 1 cauliflower
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1-2 tbsp of pine nuts
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 4 tbsp of breadcrumbs
- 2 glasses of water
- Penne pasta
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Wash and cut the cauliflower into florets
- Brown the whole garlic clove in a large pan with some olive oil on a medium heat. Add the pine nuts at the end for a few seconds, then add the florets and mix.
- Add two glasses of water and a pinch of black pepper and cover the pan with a lid. Add more water if the mixture dries. Once the florets are soft remove the garlic clove and salt to taste.
- Whilst this is cooking add some water to a pot over a high heat and generously salt the water, covering it with a lid. Once this has boiled remove the lid and add the penne pasta. Cook this until it is al dente (still has a bit of a crunch), then drain the water.
- In a separate pan roast some breadcrumbs for a few minutes until it is golden brown.
- Combine the pasta and cauliflower mixture and season with the roasted breadcrumbs.
Granita al limone (con brioche):
Granita al limone is a cold dessert found in Sicilian bars that can be eaten on a hot afternoon or for breakfast and is often paired with a brioche. Granita’s are gluten free, lactose free and vegan! Although the most popular flavour is lemon, they can also come in a variety of flavours such as strawberry (fragola), almond (mandorle), pistachio (pistacchio) and chocolate (cioccolato).
- 1L room temperature water
- 300g white sugar
- 500ml of lemon juice
- Pour the room temperature water into a deep pot and add the white sugar. Stir the mixture and put it over a very low heat.
- Once it is blended and liquified, take it off the heat and let it cool down before adding the lemon juice and mixing well. You can add more sugar if you want it sweeter.
- Transfer the mixture into a glass container and put it into the freezer. After 20 min take it out and remove the ice around the edges, mix it and then put it back in. This needs to be repeated every 20 min until you get a creamy and granulated mixture (this should take approximately 4 hours).
Featured image courtesy of Christina Giallombardo
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