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 →

pane a caponata – sicilian bread salad

Before we start, no, this is not the same as the by now ubiquitous Tuscan panzanella. There are some crucial differences. For starters, although this is a perfect way to use up leftover bread, it is also good enough to merit buying a decent loaf on purpose. Panzanella quite frankly isn’t. Above all, here the bread is toasted and left in chunks, adding not only extra texture, but extra flavour. This detail also puts it Continue Reading →

occhiverdi fritti – fried greeneyes

Green eyes, baby’s got green eyes… No, then again, maybe not. It would be difficult to get romantic about these little fish. And even the name of this recipe is disturbing, I know. Don’t think it hasn’t struck me just how Hannibal Lecter it sounds. And you won’t feel any better once you’ve had a look at them. Pretty convincing proof of the exstence of aliens, if you ask me. This is the chlorophthalmus agassizi, Continue Reading →

insalata di polipo – octopus salad

Before coming to Italy I’d only ever eaten octopus once, in Rhodes. I can still visualize the plate in front of me to this day. It is a source of constant amazement, not to mention concern, to my wife that I can recall not only dishes, but entire meals I ate years ago. Anyway, in this case I feel justified, since the Rhodian octopus was one of those defining moments in my love story with Continue Reading →

passuluna – semidried olives

Unprepossessing bunch, aren’t they? These lovelies are passuluna¸ olives which have been left to appasssire, i.e. dry and wither on the tree. These are the gangland thugs of the culinary underworld, bruisers you would cross the street to stay clear of. I won’t pretend – who would believe me, for starters? – that these blackened, shrivelled drupes are universally popular. Many Sicilians, however, wax lyrical about them. I’ve always presumed they’re one of those foodstuffs Continue Reading →