Sicilian Food: identity and tradition! Pt.2

26/04/2021 Da News Commenti Disabilitati

See the first part of the article here:…d-tradition-pt-1/

Vegetables and greens

Therefore, the habit of bringing vegetables pretty often to the table, or using them as the main ingredient in one’s own recipes, makes Sicilian cuisine part of the so-called Mediterranean diet, recognized as an intangible heritage of humanity. In fact, feeding on the fruits of the earth has been a habit well-rooted in the DNA of Sicilian people since ancient times, and the island is an incredible forge of wild herbs that have always accompanied the island’s inhabitants with their meals.

Among the most common spontaneous plants we have wild chard (agghiu sarvaggiu, cipudduzza or purriceddi), wild chicory (cicuriedda, cicuriedda ri muntagna, erva amara, wild endive or radicchio), wild garlic (agghiu sarvaggiu, cipudduzza or purriceddi) , borage (urrania or vurrania), wild asparagus, wild fennel and many more.

Among the cultivated plants we find a wide range starting from the courgette (cucuzza) and the talli (taddi in Sicilian) that is the pumpkin tenerumi, and then broccoli, rocket, cherry tomatoes, aubergines, artichokes, lettuce, peppers, carrots, fennel, onions, cucumbers, and many others.

There is also a wide selection of vegetables declared as Traditional Italian Agri-food Products, and some of them are also PGI products due to their territorial peculiarities, such as:

  • The Onion of Giarratana (Slow Food Presidium present only in the area of Giarratana, province of Ragusa)
  • Red Garlic of Nubia (also a Slow Food presidium)
  • New potato from Syracuse
  • New Potato of Messina
  • Pachino tomato
  • Villalba Lentil (Slow Food Presidium)
  • Broad bean from Leonforte
  • Ox Heart Tomato

Other Slow Food Presidium products are also:

  • The spiny artichoke of Menfi
  • The Cosaruciaru Bean from Scicli
  • The Lentil of Ustica
  • The Siccagno Tomato from the Belice Valley
  • The Cabbage Trunzo di Sci
  • The Badda Bean from Polizzi

Fish and Crustaceans

Sicily, being an island, boasts a huge number of fish-based recipes, especially in those places overlooking the sea. The fish is used both in the preparation of appetizers as well as first or second courses. The most common varieties of fish on the island are swordfish, tuna, hake, gurnard, hammerhead fish, longwing, sardine, octopus, mullet, and other species. Among the crustaceans and mollusks, we have instead of the mussels, clams, sea urchins, scampi, scallops, squid, prawns, scampi, the red prawn of Mazara (PDO), the salted seaweed of Lampedusa (Slow Food), and others yet.

Bread in the Sicilian tradition

Another characteristic element of the Sicilian culinary tradition is bread, in fact, it became the main meal to feed families in that period when they did not have the possibility to buy pasta, meat, or fish, and was often accompanied with legume-based soups such as chickpeas, lentils, broad beans, and beans.

On the island, there is a widespread custom, especially in the mountain areas, of producing the so-called homemade bread, (‘u pani i casa in Sicilian). The bread was baked in stone ovens powered by wood that gave the bread a characteristic aroma and is usually mixed with both durum and soft wheat. Hot bread is usually used seasoned with oil, salt, and oregano and is called, in Sicilian, pani cunzatu (seasoned bread), while another dish consumed very frequently is bruschetta topped with chopped tomatoes, garlic, and oil as the main ingredients.