Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches Make “Moon of the Faithful” Syrup for Crêpes

This Sicilian sweet syrup is part of what is known folklorically as being part of cucina arabo-sicula, the cooking influenced by the long ago Arab presence in Sicily.  In some Muslim countries, the apricot is known as the “moon of the faithful.”  The apricot belongs in the same family as the peach and nectarine, all […]

“Oh, Wonderful!” Sicilian Eggplant

The Sicilian expression—although little known among contemporary Sicilians—sciàtara-e-màtara, is an exclamation of wonder–or contempt!  It might be said like “Oh, wonderful!” or contemptuously as in “God! Great merciful God!”  The expression derives from the Arabic shātirū yā mā tāra as in “oh, the cleverness that you see!” which Arabs say sarcastically when someone from whom […]

Sicilians Know Swordfish!

The popularity of swordfish in Sicily goes back to the ancient Greeks when they established colonies on the island.  But this preparation has four of the hallmarks of cucina arabo-sicula, the folkloric cuisine believed to be vestigial of Arab influence from the Arab-Sicilian era of the ninth to twelfth centuries: the use of citrus, grilled […]

Summertime Squid, Grilled the Sicilian Way

Calamari Ripieni   Print Prep time 25 mins Cook time 40 mins Total time 1 hour 5 mins   For ease, buy the squid already cleaned but make sure they include each of the squid’s tentacles. Eight squid should weigh about 1¼ pounds, and that size is ideal for grilling in this recipe. You can […]

Sicilian Frittedda: A Riot of Tender Spring Flavors

In the springtime in Sicily a simply named dish reveals an explosion of flavor that belies its satisfying complexity. It is a dish special with spring vegetables — fava, peas, scallions and artichokes — and called frittedda (or fritedda). In western Sicily, where frittedda was born, it is served as a grape ‘u pitittu, a […]

Sicily’s Cucina Erotica All in a Seafood Stew

Sicilians are noted for culinary preparations with vulgar names. It’s not clear when this tradition began, but many of these dishes are sexual in nature and considered part of what would be called cucina erotica.  One particular style of preparation–and actually the name of the sauce in a variety of preparations–is called picchi-pácchiu, referring to […]

Give Christmas A Sicilian Spin With Hearty Tummala

Families all seem to have their own Christmas classics — roast turkey, baked ham, crown roast or pork, or prime rib. Many Italian-Americans will have lasagna or a feast of seven fishes. One spectacular preparation for a change of pace is to follow some families and make the classic Sicilian Christmas tummàla. Tummàla is a […]

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