Typical Sicilian dishes to discover the Sicilian tastes
Sicilian cuisine is not a trivial way of cooking: it is rich in fresh and natural ingredients starting from vegetables ripened under the hot summer sun, fresh Mediterranean fish to the savoury goat cheeses. If you have the luck to visit Sicily or you want to try the typical tastes, besides the most known dishes, such as arancini, cannoli and cassata, these 5 typical Sicilian dishes enclose perfectly the culinary soul and the authentic flavours of this wonderful region.
Typical Sicilian dishes: brioche with “tuppo” and “granita”
Brioches with “tuppo” are a speciality of Catania, pride of all the confectioneries and bar of the city. You should eat them in the morning, served together with a creamy granita, to start off the day on the right food. Brioches with “tuppo” have a soft and perfumed dough, perfect eat alone of stuffed with ice cream. Their name derives from the hairstyle of the Sicilian ladies that in the past used to dress their hairs in a chignon called “tuppo”.
The long leavening and the addition of apples and butter in the dough make them light and spumy, perfect to be dipped, whereas eggs and saffron give them the typical yellow colour.
La vera colazione siciliana le vede abbinate, nelle calde giornate estive, alle granite di caffè, mandorla, limone o more di gelso servite con un ciuffo di panna montata.
Typical Sicilian dishes: “cartocciate catanesi”
It is the typical street food ate along the streets of Catania, but also an extraordinary speciality of hash houses and delicatessens. It is a kind of calzone with soft and slightly sweet dough stuffed with tomato, mozzarella or other kind of stringy cheese and ham. Extraordinary is also the version with fried eggplants or olives.
The dough isn’t the traditional one used for pizza that foresees the addition of water, yeasts, flour and margarine. Finally, the half-moon is brushed with blended egg to obtain the traditional golden surface.
Typical Sicilian dishes: “Annelletti al forno” (oven baked ring-shaped pasta)
Sicilian oven baked pasta has a unique characteristic: “anelletti” (ring-shaped pasta); it is a peculiar size of pasta typical of the island and in particular of Palermo. Anelletti are typically used to prepare timbales and the famous Sicilian oven baked pasta that foresees a thick seasoning made of ragu, beans and abundant caciocavallo of Ragusa, both fresh and seasoned, or alro a local cheese similar to primosale. Finally the traditional recipe adds diced hard-boiled eggs mixed with pasta. A baking pan of “anelletti al forno” is a real speciality that you can’t miss when you visit Palermo and each family has its own recipe to prepare during the holidays.
Typical Sicilian dishes: “Busiati con l’agghia pistata” – “Maccheroncini with Trapanese pesto”
From Palermo we move to Trapani to taste a delicacy that enclose in a dish all the Sicilian tastes: Trapanese pesto, also called “crushed garlic” (in the traditional dialect “agghia pistata“). The origin of this sauce dates back to the people of Genoa that during their stopovers on the island brought their green pesto and “agliata” (a mix of nuts and garlic). The Sicilian marines adapted this recipe to the typical products of the island; Trapanese pesto was born in this way. It is made of a mix of fresh and raw grinded ingredients: extra virgin oil, garlic, almonds, tomatoes and basil. Ingredients that have to be crushed with a stone or wood mortar, do not blend them with the modern metal blender.
Sometimes, grated pecorino or toasted bread can be added to the dish. Trapanese pesto is perfect with “busiati” small handmade macaroni, rolled using the “ramo del buso” that is the stem of the “disa” a herbaceous plant typical of the Mediterranean zones.
Typical Sicilian dishes: Messinese swordfish
Our last Sicilian stop is Messina, where the king of the table is Messinese swordfish. This dish encloses all the tastes of the Sicilian world and the perfumes of the Mediterranean garden; besides extra virgin olive oil there are also fresh Pachino tomatoes (a variety of cherry tomatoes), olives, capers and Tropea onion. It is like a triumph of ingredients that belongs to the Atlas of the typical products of Sicily, which boasts safeguard designations and European recognitions.
Igp Tropea onion, Salina caper is a Slow Food presidium or Igp Pantelleria caper, Igp Pachino tomato, oil coming from the sunny countryside of the island.
Do not underestimate the main ingredient, the swordfish fished directly in the Mediterranean sea, thus really fresh. It is cooked in the “ghiotta” a thick tomato sauce enriched by capers, olives, chilli pepper and Tropea onion.
If you want to know also the best Sicilian Christmas first courses read this article.