Sicilian cuisine: the revisited courses of the gastronomic tradition
Let’s forget the Sicilian wheel barrows and the inflexible grandmas with the rolling pins in hands. We are used to traditional Sicilian cuisine, its intense flavors and frying smell. Let’s face it, we hardly accept compromises.
Sure, tradition is important for anyone, and anywhere in the world, but it is also right to accept natural change and know how to innovate. Eating habits change and, often, the need is to revisit a dish in order to adapt it to new tastes and trends.
Sicilian cooking is known for the excellence of its raw materials, for the great gastronomical offer and for the delicious taste which is hard to give up. The other side of the medal? It is necessary to make an appointment with the nutritionist after a week of “manciata” (eating a lot) in Sicily.
Seriously, tradition can also go hand in hand with innovation and there are many traditional Sicilian dishes which have been revisited in order to adapt to new healthy, vegan trends or to the tastes of the new countries where they are offered.
Let’s discover together which are the revisited traditional dishes and how Sicilian cooking has been able to innovate conquering palates in every part of the world.
Sicilian cooking: a tradition that never stops surprising
What is the secret of Mediterranean cooking and, in particular, of Sicilian cooking? Certainly contamination. Yes, Sicilian cooking is the result of centuries of contaminations and there are many people who dominated Sicily and contributed to enrich the great gastronomical panorama of the island.
At the base of every dish there is the freshness of the ingredients. From freshly caught fish to olive oil, which is not only consumed “raw”, but it often becomes the base of countless Sicilian specialties made with a soffritto. Just think about caponata, fried cod, parmigiana or vegetables in batter. Just to mention some of them.
Meat, especially pork meat, is the main ingredient of many dishes. But also vegetables, consumed as a side dish or as a single course, become the protagonists of traditional lunches and dinners.
But how has Sicilian cooking changed? What are the novelties in the vast international panorama of Sicilian food?
Call it, if you want, creative cuisine!
Cooking is an integral part of the culture of a territory. With its traditional and modern recipes, typical dishes and spices rich in aromas, Sicilian cooking is an explosion of tradition and innovation.
Although every Sicilian gastronomic speciality is strongly bound to its territory of origin, during the years some dishes have spread in the rest of the island with important variations and reinterpretations, from province to province.
The same happened to Sicilian cooking which, little by little, spread in other parts of Italy and then in the world. Recipes passed from hand to hand, from generation to generation, from place to place, have been transformed and adapted to new worlds, new tastes, new needs. While preserving, however, the flavor and excellence of the original dish.
Revisited sicilian cuisine in the world
Therefore, the same recipe undergoes variations, as it should be. Even the parmigiana made by your grandmother is different from the one made by your mother-in-law and it is almost impossible to find the same recipe moving from one place to another.
We think it’s right to preserve tradition, but in the kitchen you have to be creative! After all, the best part of preparing a dish is just experimenting with aromas and flavors that can give rise to new combinations and super tasty recipes.
Here are the most creative recipes of Sicilian cuisine!
Vegetarian Anelletti alla siciliana
A few decades ago, if someone had told their grandmother to make vegetarian anelletti alla siciliana, they probably would have been disowned by the household. Today, things are different. Definitely!
Vegan and vegetarian cooking has now spread all over the world, even in Sicily where the link with meat and fish is strong. The traditional baked anelletti includes meat sauce and the addition of peas, fried eggplant and caciocavallo cheese.
Yes, a hearty dish that can also be enjoyed in its vegetarian version. Just eliminate the meat and prepare a soffritto with crushed walnuts and onion, add peas and grilled eggplant. A lighter version but definitely tasty!
A “light” parmigiana
And if we are talking about lightness, it is difficult to find points in common with the traditional parmigiana (parmiciana in Sicilian). There is a light version, even easier to prepare, but just as delicious.
Eggplants, in the traditional recipe, are fried. In some parts of Sicily, they are even mashed in egg yolk and then in flour before being fried. To prepare a light parmigiana, just use grilled eggplant and dress it, layer by layer, with tomato sauce, cheese and basil.
The result? A tasty and remorseless variant.
Pasta alla norma in bianco
A pasta alla norma without tomato? Yes, it can be made! Traditional pasta alla Norma requires eggplant, tomato and hard salted ricotta cheese, but its reinterpretation offers a tomato-free variant with fried eggplant, fresh ricotta cheese, grated ricotta salata flakes and fresh basil.
A perfect dish for all occasions, recalling tradition and Mediterranean flavor.
Vegetarian or fish arancine (or arancini)
Arancine or arancini rice balls are one of the most symbolic dishes of the gastronomic tradition and, in particular, of Sicilian street food.
Since some years, however, the classic recipes of arancine “accarne“ and “al burro” (with butter) are two of the many options and have been replaced by the countless reinterpretations and a large proposal which satisfies any palate.
Sicilian restaurants abroad and street food chains have contributed to the change in order to bring the authentic taste of Sicily everywhere. Thus, it is possible to taste arancine alla norma, arancine with salmon, arancine with spaghetti, sardines and fennel and those with mushrooms or with four cheeses.
Sicilian cuisine: between tradition and innovation
In short, Sicilian cooking today is a real blaze of flavors and we are happy to know that even tradition can innovate in the full respect of history and flavors of the past.
The important thing, in any case, is to use quality raw ingredients, fresh and able to represent the excellence of Sicilian gastronomy.
And you, have you tried to prepare revisited Sicilian dishes? Let us know in the comments!