‘The House by the Sea’ Top 5 Things to Eat in Sicily – Louise Douglas
Inspired by The House by the Sea? Here are the perfect culinary accompaniments to stir up your senses and transport you into Edie’s Sicilian life..
Because the island of Sicily has been invaded and occupied so often, its food is diverse, with Italian, Greek and North African influences. The Sicilian fish is fantastic; restaurants often have the day’s catch displayed on ice so diners can choose exactly what they fancy, there being no menu but the chef cooking whatever has been brought in. I’m vegetarian, but fortunately that’s not a problem on an island where there’s so much choice. The pizza is out of this world, but that’s too obvious. Here are five of my Sicilian favourites:
These are delicious little balls of rice, coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. The best in Sicilian finger food, they’re sold at street stalls in markets, often with meat sauce or cheese filling. It’s an ideal way to use up leftover rice and pasta sauce, but you can put whatever you like inside. My favourite is chopped basil, sundried tomato and mozzarella.
The distinctive sweet, vinegary taste of this fried aubergine and celery starter or side-dish, takes me straight back to summer in Sicily where it’s usually served cold. It’s easy to make and a dish of this served with ciabatta and salad is a perfect meal for a warm summer evening. The recipe below deep fries the aubergine, but I cook the pieces in an ordinary frying pan with a little hot oil and it works fine.
Pasta alla Norma.
Another aubergine-based dish, this is really quick and easy to make and absolutely delicious. The first time we went to Sicily, we stayed in a small seaside town, San Vito lo Capo, and because it was out of season, most of the restaurants were closed. The only one still open was renowned for its fish, particularly octopus. Luckily for me the chef used to make this dish for me, and I ate it with a salad of peppery leaves with thin slices of orange and pomegranate seeds.
Probably the most famous food to come out of Sicily – partly because they feature so prominently in the Godfather films, these delicious pastries are available everywhere and they are sweet, sticky and impossible to eat daintily! A Sicilian version of the cream horn, the fried, sweet pastry shells usually have a creamy ricotta filling and may have originated during the first century AD when the island was part of the Byzantine empire.
There can’t be any better way to finish a meal on a hot summer’s evening than this delicious, vegan, grown-up ice dessert with its distinctive, grainy texture. It can be flavoured with whatever you like. The recipe below only has four ingredients and you don’t need any special equipment. It’s the perfect palate cleanser and truly wonderful to eat.
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