I just spent a few days in Sicily, and floods of memories came back the minute I stepped off the bus in Agrigento –  of candied squash-stuffed butter cookies, bread made with grano duro that tastes hauntingly like cinnamon, mollica (dried, toasted breadcrumbs) which are an essential ingredient in Sicilian cuisine, just-out-of-the-Mediterranean swordfish, almonds that explode with flavor, meaty green and black olives, sour lemon granita with brioche.  Sicily is rough and ready, ancient and modern, filled with charm and laughter, smiles, warmth and sun.  And the food, influenced by the Saracens and the Normans, is a constant surprise.

From the Monastero Santo Spirito, behind closed doors

From the nuns at Monastero Santo Spirito

Stuffed with candied squash rind, almonds, chocolate, cream

Stuffed with candied squash rind, almonds, chocolate, crema

Swordfish, cut like the Sicilians do

Swordfish, cut like the Sicilians do

Inside the fish shop where we got the swordfish

The amazing fish shop

The baker's world

The baker and his world (photo by Ellen Cole)

Itinerant market, Agrigento

Itinerant market, Agrigento

Produce with Mediterranean

Produce with Mediterranean

Sun-dappled lunch on the deck

Sun-dappled lunch on the deck

In our backyard, in the Vali dei  tempoli, near San Leone (Agrigento)

Practically in our backyard, in the Vali dei tempoli, near San Leone (Agrigento)

Fresh almonds from the vali dei tempoli

Fresh almonds from the vali dei tempoli, with local olives

Typical breakfast - lemon granita with brioche

Typical breakfast – lemon granita with brioche

Nice, cold Peroni and a glass of frizzante on a nice hot day

Nice, cold Peroni and a glass of frizzante on a nice hot day

Hazelnut gelato in Enna

Hazelnut gelato in Enna

Plasterwork around the altar at Monastero Santo Spirito, Agrigento

Plaster altar at Monastero Santo Spirito, Agrigento

Near Agrigento

Near Agrigento

And then it was arrivederci, until the next delicious visit!

 

Here is a recipe for Granita, first published in ITALIAN FARMHOUSE COOKBOOK (Workman, 2000)

GRANITA LIMONE

1 (200g) cup sugar

The zest of 2 lemons, minced

1 cup (250ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

 

1.  Place the sugar and 2 cups (500ml) water in a medium-sized saucepan and whisk to combine.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the lid, reduce the heat so the mixture simmers merrily, and cook, stirring from time to time, just until the sugar is dissolved, which will take about 5 minutes  Stir in the lemon zest and let cool to room temperature.

2. When the sugar syrup is cool, strain out the lemon zest and discard. Whisk in the lemon juice and refrigerate the mixture for at least 1 hour.

3.  Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

 

 

 

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18 Responses to Delicious Sicily

  1. Barbara Wetzel says:

    Susan, Thank you for the wonderful photos and the granita recipe. Sicily is such a great place, the temples exquisite, food delicious.

  2. Laura in Texas says:

    What a great trip, photos and food. Bon appetito!

  3. WOW, Sicily looks wonderful. The granita looks perfect for a hot summer day, like we are currently having in LA. I guess I will be trying it tomorrow!

    • Susan says:

      Try it and let me know. If you can find Italian brioches – not as eggy/buttery as the French kind – try dipping. Sounds weird, tastes delicious!

  4. Alice Maltby says:

    Susan, Thank you for your wonderful pictures. I was in Sicily last year and your post brought back some super memories.
    Please keep up your good work.
    Best wishes
    Alice

  5. Betsy Regnell says:

    Beautiful! I want to go to Sicily! And I can’t wait to make the lemon granita. Thank you for sharing Susan. Looking forward to your next post! Betsy

  6. Laura in Texas says:

    Hi Susan,
    I am making arancello using the Italian Farmhouse cookbook Ghiselda’s limoncello recipe as a guide. Do you know if the zest proportions are the same for oranges as for lemons? Was hoping you and her might have spoken about this even though it is not in the book.

    • Susan says:

      Dear Laura,
      I didn’t speak with Ghiselda about this, but I would say YES. let me know how it turns out, allright?

      • Laura in Texas says:

        Will do. Many of the recipes I have seen elsewhere I think do not provide enough zest but hers has had the most, so I am hopeful it will work well. Just last night I came across your orange wine recipe and may also start a batch of that later tonight. The vanilla and coffee beans sounds intriguing with the orange and I hope my batch tastes as good as I what my brain is thinking. Thanks for the help, LAURA

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