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.

 

 

 

 

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