When she showed us how to make Cassata, Sicialian girl took it upon herself to explore other great foods from her homeland. Here are her top 5!
You know, there’s no place like home. And there’s no food like the one from your own country. However, everyone feel absolutely at home while tatsting Sicilian food. I think the reason deals with the different domination Sicily had trough the Centuries: Greeks, Romans, Arabics, Normans left a strong footprint in my culture and in our kitchen. So, I’m gonna introduce you 5 Sicilian speciaties coming from exotic places.
I presented Cassata before and showed you how to prepare it at home, but, when I delved deeper into its history, I discovered that the real ingredients are Arabic, Spanish and Norman.
Ricotta cheese is absolutely Sicilian, but Cassata was born when the Arabs brought Sicily citrus fruits, sugar cane and almonds . At the beginning, Cassata was just baked short pastry with ricotta cheese. It was during the Norman period that marzipan was created in the Martonara Convent, replacing the pasyry as shell of Cassata. And what about Spanish? They added chocolate and sponge bread. At least, in the Baroque period, the recipe was completed with candies.
2. Cous Cous
It come from North Africa and you can taste the best cous cous when in Morocco, of course. But, if you’re around the West Coast of Sicily you must visit Trapani and taste the Sicilian cous cous. It’s different from the Moroccon one because it’s served with a spicy fish soup.
It’s a curious finger food, made with rice, meat, tomato and peas. Another Arabic invention - they used to cook rice with saffron - modified by Fedrico II. The royal chef introduced the fried breadcrumbs shell to make Arancina easier to carry when on a hunt or short journey. The grandma of the take away culture!
No one can ever get the name right: you can hear sfinci, sfince or sfingi. It’s a kind of pancake, looking like an irregular ball, fried and then covered with honey and sugar. Their story links them to Persia and you can read about them in the Bible and Koran, too, but someone says the Greek used to prepare “sfinci” to celebrate Spring! By the way, the Palermo’s variation of sfinci has ricotta chees, chocolate and candies… amazing!
It’s a specialty that Sicilians use to have for dinner on the day that celebrates Santa Lucia: according to tradition it’s forbidden eating bread and pasta, so you mus eat rice and cereals. The legend says that, during Spanish domination, a great famine held the island and people asked to Santa Lucia to do something. Few days after, a ship carrying corn arrived in Siracusa and hungry people boiled the corn and ate it with milk cream. That’s how Cuccia is made: boiled cereals, milk and a little bit of chocolate. Served cold.
Genuinely, we know that this way to prepare cereals simply come from North Africa. But the taste is legendary!
Each week Sicilian Girl will be giving us the chance to see more of the Sicilian way of life through her eyes and all you have to do is click below. Enjoy!