Made in Sicily
"... like the ancient Saracen olive trees that have stood resolutely on the island for thousands of years, the people have remained resilient in the face of any influences that feel false to the flavors they love." Giorgio Locatelli on Sicily in his luscious new cookbook, Made in Sicily available February 7th.
Equal parts travel adventure through an island rich with Greek, Arab and Spanish influences and guide to traditional Sicilian recipes.
The proportions and combinations vary from village to village, but the ingredients are the same: fish, pasta, eggplant, anchovies, capers, golden raisins, pine nuts, figs, olives,lemons, oranges, almonds, pistachios and wild fennel ... and for dessert: fresh ricotta, candied fruit and peel, and chocolate.
With groves of centuries-old trees ripe with oranges, figs and olives, and fish caught fresh a few steps away, every meal is a sensory feast.
As any good chef will tell you, always buy fresh and only use what's in season locally.
While you're packing, try this recipe for eggplant rolls:
Involtini de melanzane
(Eggplant rolls, page 138)
2 medium eggplants
sae salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 ounce pecorino cheese (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon grated)
6 tablespoons bread crumbs (see page 45)
juice of 1 lemon
Cut the eggplants into slices lengthwise (about 1/8 inch thick), sprinkle with salt and leave to drain in a colander for at least 2 hours. Squeeze lightly to get rid of the excess liquid, then bring a large pan of water to a boil, add the slices of eggplant, and blanch for a minute. drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degree F. Heat a little olive oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic, and cook gently until soft, but not colored. Add the raisins and pine nuts and cook for a minute, then take off the heat, cool and then add pecorino, mixing well and adding a little more olive oil until you have a dense, moist mixture.
Lay the slices of eggplant out on a board. Spoon a little of the onion mixture onto each slice, then roll up. With wooden skewers, secure the rolls, four at a time, with a bay leaf in between each roll and at either end. Arrange the skewers in a baking dish, scatter with the bread crumbs and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the top before serving.