Delicious Sicily
From the Monastero Santo Spirito, behind closed doors

Delicious Sicily

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.

 

 

 

 

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Barbara Wetzel

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

    1. Susan

      Barbara,

      Why, you are more than welcome! I adore Sicily, and cannot wait to return!

  2. Laura in Texas

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

    1. Susan

      Laura, and friends. We had so much fun!

  3. ShePaused4Thought

    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!

    1. Susan

      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!

      1. I am still trippin’ on stuffed with candied squash rinds! Never heard of such a thing. How did it taste?

        1. Susan

          Oh, CAthy, it’s delicious, and the color is gorgeous. I’ll post a picture. I love it, but it is an acquired taste -think candied angelica in a plain butter cookie.

  4. Alice Maltby

    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

    1. Susan

      Alice!

      Thank you – Sicily is marvelous. It’s a continent apart.

  5. Betsy Regnell

    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

    1. Susan

      Betsy,

      Put it in your plans. Maybe I can meet you there!

  6. Laura in Texas

    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.

    1. Susan

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

      1. Laura in Texas

        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

        1. Susan

          Laura,

          You will love the orange wine. Make it, seriously. Good luck!

          Susan

          1. Laura in Texas

            I put a batch together last week after your urging and the smell of caramelized sugar and the oranges was fantastic! Think I may put another batch in this week. Thanks!

          2. Susan

            Laura!

            You’ll love this….!

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