Sicily is an island but rich as a continent. An extraordinary mix of the different cultures that in the past conquered Sicily, it could fascinate you for ever. The island was a Greek colony, whose famous temples are visible between Palermo and Agrigento. Today in the ancient amptheatres you can still enjoy the performance of Greek tragedy. In Monreale you can admire Norman art. In beautiful and decadent Palermo you can admire the best monuments and palaces from the Arabic and Spanish periods. Nature enthusiasts must climb the Etna Volcano, the highest volcano in Europe. Wine lovers must visit the incredible vineyards in central Sicily. Those passionate about eating can find everywhere, even in the smallest village, very good food, especially fried. I say nothing about the sea. Go and then tell me your impressions. Remember that Ulysses lost his way in Sicily……
CAPONATA DI MELANZANE
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 tablespoon oregano
150 g green olives
½ glass of vinegar
Cut the eggplants and tomatoes into cubes. Slice the onions. Sauté the vegetables in a large frying pan with oil. Remove and put in a bowl. Put in the pan sultana, olives, oregano, cutted pepper, capers and sugar. When pepper is soft, add the vinegar. Cook for few minutes and add to the eggplants stirring gently. Wait for 15 minutes before serving. It is also good served could, even the day after.
Sardegna is a real island. Isolated, surrounded by a crystal blue sea, good fish, Mediterranean flora, pastoral culture ….. and a mysterious history. Those are the ingredients of a perfect holiday. Many theories try to explain the origin of the Nuragica Civilization. Some Nuraghe remains are still visible (stone houses or fortress?).
The best swim that I have ever had in Italy was at Tharros, a Fenician archaeological site facing the sea. Swimming in front of the ancient columns was an unforgettable experience. And we finished the day at a restaurant in Oristano with a magnificent dish of sardinian crayfish.
If, like the Japanese, you enjoy tuna fish, you should go to visit S.Pietro island. In the village of Carloforte, one of the few surviving ancient tuna farms. There you can taste the rare red Mediterranean tuna fish.
TONNO ARROSTO ALLA CARLOFORTE
1.5 kg fresh tuna fish (possibly a fillet)
1 glass of white wine
1 clove of garlic
4 laurel leaves
Cut the fillets into cubes and fry in a large frying pan with oil. Remove and cover. Brown the garlic in a saucepan. Put in the cut tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the tuna fish and pour in the glass of wine. Add the laurel leaves and cook until the fish has absorbed almost all the sauce. Serve very hot.
AT THE END…..I hope that this introduction to the Italian regional cuisine will stimulate your curiosity.
Our cuisine is part of our culture.
We are brought up on the products of our land and seas. Wide varieties of plants and fish take taste by the sun that smile on the Mediterranean Sea and on our Peninsula.
Every region has its own typical products, and every village or town has a festival with a big dinner in the square at least once a year.
For this reason it’s not possible to divide the love of the tradition from the love of the cuisine. It is an ancient passion which makes Italy unique in the World.
To “taste” a visit to Italy, prepare yourself for a cultural and gastronomical tour, joining the rhythm of life of this lovely people.
BIBLIOGRAPHY of THE BOOK
– My grandmother’s little Book Reciepes, Valpietra 1960
– My own Diary of Reciepes, Valgiano 2000/2011
– My Travel Notes, Barga 2005/2015
– Longanesi & C. Periodici, Grande Scuola di Cucina, Roma
– Touring Club italiano, Guida turistica d’Italia, Milano 1995
– Alan Davidson, Il mare in pentola, Mondatori, Milano 1972
– Fulvio Rinaldi Palagi, A tavola in Chianti, Studium, Radda in Chianti 1990
– Renzo Menesini, Le erbe aromatiche in cucina, M. Pacini Fazzi, Lucca, 1992