All Mediterranean flavors are packed in this Sicilian salad from Pantelleria.  Halfway between Trapani and Tunisia, this tiny island is called “the black pearl of the Mediterranean” as it’s composed of mostly black volcanic rock.  It is also known to be the first place the Arabs arrived when they invaded Sicily in the 8th century.

INGREDIENTS

*Organic ingredients recommended

  • 4 ounces fingerling potatoes
  • 10-12 Pachino tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes)
  • Tropea red onion (or sweet red onion)
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 handful capers
  • 10-12 black olives
  • Salt
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried Oregano

PREPARATIONS

  1. Boil potatoes for about 30 minutes in abundantly salty water.  Once ready, drain them and let cool.  
  2. Peel and cut into wedges.
  3. In the meantime, peel and cut the onion in thin slices.  Soak for about 15 minutes in red wine vinegar.
  4. Wash the capers under water to eliminate excess salt, wash and cut tomatoes, pit the olives and cut.  
  5. In a small bowl, mix olive oil with oregano, you’ll need it to dress the salad.
  6. Drain the onions and mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Add a pinch of salt and the fresh basil leaves.  
  7. Leave in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Pasta alla Norma is the original name given to this traditional Sicilian dish.  According to legend, this pasta recipe was so good, it deserved to be named the same as the opera Norma by the great Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini.   Tomatoes, eggplant, basil, and Pecorino cheese are the few simple and easy-to-find traditional Sicilian ingredients you need to make the Norma.

INGREDIENTS

*Organic ingredients recommended

  • 8 ounces Ditali (or Rigatoni) pasta
  • 2 cups canned peeled tomatoes, chopped (discard liquid and seeds)
  • 1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
  • 6-7 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups diced eggplant
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed
  • Vegetable Oil, as needed
  • ½ cup Parmesan, or sour Ricotta Salata (Sicilian option), grated
  • Dry chili flakes (optional), to taste

PREPARATIONS

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add Ditali pasta, and cook until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of oil and garlic.
  3. When the garlic is golden remove it, reduce heat, and add the chopped tomatoes, a couple of basil leaves and some chili flakes.
  4. Let it cook for about 10 minutes, then season.
  5. While the sauce and pasta are cooking, heat the Vegetable Oil on a deep sauce pan over medium heat.  
  6. Deep fry the eggplant cubes until golden.  Drain the cubes on kitchen paper and add them into the tomato sauce.
  7. When the pasta is ready, drain and mix with the tomato and eggplant sauce.  
  8. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with fresh basil and grated Ricotta (or Parmesan) on top.

Among the most delicious offerings of  the Sicilian table are its fish.  Fresh, abundant, and varied, warm Mediterranean waters result in a very different kind of seafood experience than deep water fish of the Pacific or Atlantic.  Now exported around the world, Branzino is available in US local markets and specialty stores.  Traditionally, Sicilians leave the heads on of this Mediterranean sea bass because they believe the freshness in the catch is seen in the eyes.  

INGREDIENTS

*Organic ingredients recommended

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped capers
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Salt
  • 4 1-1 ¼ pound whole Branzino (or striped bass) scaled & gutted
  • 1 lemon, sliced into 8 rounds
  • 4 large rosemary sprigs
  • 3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

PREPARATIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the butter with capers, lemon juice and parsley, then season with salt.  Keep at room temperature.
  3. Season the Branzino cavities with salt and stuff 2 lemon rounds and 1 rosemary sprig in each.  Season the fish with salt.
  4. In a large, nonstick, ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering.  
  5. Add 2 of the Branzino and cook over high heat until the skin is browned and crisp, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer the fish to a large rimmed baking sheet.  
  6. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stuffed Branzino.  
  7. Roast the fish in the oven for about 10 minutes, until just cooked through.
  8. Serve whole or filleted, passing the caper butter at the table.

Marsala hails from the region of Val di Mazara on the western tip of Sicily. Said to be “invented” by an English merchant named John Woodhouse in the 1770’s, Marsala is essentially a fortified white wine, where concentrated grape spirit is added to fully fermented white wine. The sweetness Marsala brings to the recipe perfectly pairs it with the indigenous grape of Southern Sicily: Frappato.

INGREDIENTS

*Organic ingredients recommended

  • 8 veal cutlets (about 3 ounces each)
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 ounces assorted mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup sweet Marsala
  • ¾ cup low-salt chicken broth
  • Leaves from 1 fresh rosemary sprig

PREPARATIONS

  1. Sprinkle the veal with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add 4 veal cutlets and cook until golden brown, about 1 ½ minutes per side.  Transfer veal to a plate.
  4. Add another tablespoon of butter and oil, if necessary.  Repeat with the remaining 4 cutlets.  Set the cutlets aside.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet.  Add the shallot and garlic.  
  6. Sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  
  7. Add a tablespoon of the olive oil, if necessary.  Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender and the juices evaporate, about 3 minutes.
  8. Season with salt.  Add the Marsala.  Simmer until the Marsala reduces by half, about 2 minutes.
  9. Add the broth and the rosemary leaves.  Simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.  
  10. Return the veal to the skillet.  Pour in all of the pan juices.  Cook just until heated through, turning to coat, about 1 minute.
  11. Stir the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into the sauce.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Using tongs, transfer the veal to places.  Spoon the sauce of the veal and serve.

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