insalata per tonno – salad for tuna

The devil is in the detail, they say. The original version of the phrase was actually “God is in the detail”, so whichever way you look at it, details clearly make a difference. Today’s recipe, for example, would be a simple tomato and onion salad were it not for the capers, mint, and above all lemon zest. But it’s precisely these minor additions that make the salad worth telling you about. Whilst on the subject Continue Reading →

scorfano alla strombolana – scorpion fish with tomatoes and capers

This is what the Italians would call my piatto del cuore, a dish with sentimental value. It brings together one of my favourite fish – the ugly but delicious scorfano – and possibly my favourite place, the island of Stromboli, where this is a local delicacy. Capers are another love, and as I have mentioned before, those on Stromboli are particularly good, large and meaty. Today’s scorfano was in fact cooked using some from my Continue Reading →

zuppa di vongole e fagioli – bean and clam soup

First things first: this is surprisingly delicious. Surprisingly for my children, anyway, whose initial reaction was: “What on earth is that? Beans with clams? What possessed you to do such a thing?”. Within seconds, they had fallen silent, apart from the sound of soup being greedily slurped up. I rest my case; try it. This is not specifically a Sicilian dish, but both legumes and clams are harvested/caught here, so I’m appropriating it. It is Continue Reading →

pasta con tonno fresco, mandorle, capperi e pomodori – pasta with fresh tuna, almonds, capers and tomatoes

Tuna again, but no excuses. Point is, fishing it is often banned, to maintain stocks and preserve the species (at least that’s the official line). I hope it works. I for one am quite happy not to find tuna every time I want it if it means I can continue to enjoy it in the future. Ironic really, since I imagine it’s always available back in the UK (at a price), where it is not Continue Reading →

tonno lesso con salsa verde – boiled tuna with mint and parsley sauce

My journey through tuna has come full circle (yes, I have taken a journey through tuna; no, I haven’t sought psychiatric help yet). Like most of us, I first discovered this king of fish boiled and tinned, and indeed there was fat chance of getting it any other way in England at the time. But here I can get it fresh and locally caught, and have taken full advantage of the fact, having run the Continue Reading →

tonno al forno con capperi e pomodori – baked tuna with tomatoes and capers

This is a typical way of cooking tuna on the island of Favignana, off Sicily’s west coast. We find the classic island supporting act (the combination of capers, olives, tomatoes and oregano) alongside the omnipresent west coast breadcrumb coating. Breadcrumbs are of course popular everywhere in Sicily, but in western Sicily are often found as a topping, whereas in the eastern part of the island they are used more often as a stuffing, or to Continue Reading →

polipo e ceci – octopus and chickpeas

This recipe came to me in a flash of inspiration one Saturday morning, and although I have since discovered that the octopus-legume combination is appreciated elsewhere in Italy, I still feel some smug satisfaction for having “invented” the recipe before finding out that actually I hadn’t. I say “recipe” because that’s what it is, but only in the same way that “ham sandwich” is a recipe. Unlike a ham sandwich, it does involve cooking, albeit Continue Reading →