frittata di cipolla fresca – spring onion frittata

It was election day in Italy, and it seemed, at least briefly, as if Spring had arrived. And at the market I grabbed some beautifully green cipolle fresche, “fresh onions” as they call them here. The man on the stall suggested I use the leaves to make an omelette, which is just what I did, hence today’s recipe. Looking back, and somewhat aptly, an Italian expression comes to mind: “ormai la frittata è fatta”, which Continue Reading →

patate e carciofi al forno/frittedda – potato and artichoke bake/artichoke, pea and broad bean stew

Easter marks the beginning of the end of the artichoke season, so take advantage to snap them up before it’s too late. To keep you busy we have a double helping today. First baked in the oven with potatoes, and then as part of a somewhat lighter Sicilian classic, frittedda. Potatoes play the perfect foil in the first recipe, doing a great job of soaking up the artichoke juices, olive oil and pecorino, while also Continue Reading →

salsicce e carciofi – sausages and artichokes

The original plan was to do stuffed baked artichokes, but I have a nasty cold and just couldn’t muster the energy. I wanted something equally tasty but quicker and less fiddly. The solution was to use the ingredients for stuffed artichokes and to simply mix them together to create a one-dish meal. Same flavours, less work. Deconstructed rustic cooking. Could this be the birth of a whole new trend? The breadcrumbs in fact are not Continue Reading →

polpette di finocchietto selvatico – wild fennel rissoles

You may be forgiven for thinking I’ve turned pescetarian or something. Judging by recent posts, people may rightly be doubting my carnivorous credentials. If I didn’t get through so much bacon, sausages and rare steak I’d start to wonder myself. I think it must have something to do with the fact that on the whole, Sicilians (at least those living near the sea) don’t understand meat. This becomes abundantly clear whenever I go to the 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 →

parmigiana – aubergine bake

Finally, it’s time to introduce you to my absolute favourite Italian dish. Parmigiana. Love on a plate. Warming, soothing, tantalising, and melt-in-your mouth delicious… There are various versions in the south of Italy, and both the Neapolitans and Sicilians proudly claim it’s theirs. The Sicilian variety is good, and in fact anything that contains fried aubergines is good by definition, the way I see it. On the island, however, parmigiana often contains ham and sliced Continue Reading →

bietole e lenticchie – chard and lentils

One look at these bunches of vibrant crimson and deep green leaves and I was won over. Nothing could be that beautiful and not taste delicious. I bought myself a bagful, and it was only then that I realised I didn’t have a clue what to do with them. Of course, when in doubt, ask the person doing the selling, which in this case was a man with a white cowboy hat and matching goatee Continue Reading →