Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tribute to Sicilian food

Yes, you knew it was coming. I mean, how could my food obession not be seeping out of my blog? It's like how marshmallow HAS to ooze out of grahm crackers when you roast it, it was inevitable (mmm...smores). Before I get more sidetracked with thoughts of other food, here it goes. These are some of my favorites during my 2 month stay in the lovely land of Sicilia (pronounced siCHiLia).

Cornetto (con Ricotta)
This croissant FILLED (oh yeah, its completely overflowing) with Ricotta cheese and chocolate chips, is a typical breakfast staple of Sicilians. Sold in every bakery in the morning, the cornetto also comes plain, with cream, marmalade, or nutella. Dan, Jess, and I would often stop to grab a cornetto on our 1 hour walk to work every morning.

Literally meaning little oranges in Italian, this cutely shaped fried rice ball is my favorite lunch pick me up. It is a rice ball with fillings like cheese, ham, ground meat, spinach. People often eat it here as a snack, quick lunch, or part of the antipasti. I'm not sure if I like it more for the shape of it, or for the actual taste..

look how cute they are!

Pasta con le Sarde

I was told that this typical Sicilian dish (pasta with sardines, fennel, raisins, and pine nuts) originated from Palermo and mom's home cooked version tastes better than the restaurant's. Nevertheless, I spent the first month of the summer on a quest for this dish. There is a mom-and-pop restaurant near work that we go to for lunch everyday. They have pasta con le sarde on the menu. And yet, the few times I've asked for it, they never seem to have it. After being rejected a few times, I gave up. But one day, Dan got to the restaurant before me. All the staff at the restaurant were excitedly shouting 'where is your friend?! where is your friend?! we have pasta con le sarde today!!!' It was sooo cute and funny that they remembered!

Panelle Panino
Panelle Panino is deep fried chick peas sandwich, served on sesame bread. It is usually sold in street car vendors. They deep fry it on the spot when you order, locking in all that fried oil and salty goodness..mmmm.....

Sfincione (or as Dan likes to call it, Sphincterotomy ^_^)

Another common pick me up food, Sfincione is a thick sicilian pizza, actually more like focaccia, topped with tomatoes, onions, and sometimes anchiovies (not cheese, unlike your everyday pizza). Sfincione roughly translates to 'thick sponge' and the texture is more or less that. It is much less dense than you expect, soft and light when you bite into it. Taste much better than it looks.

Babaluci! (pronounced ba ba loo sh! yes, you must pronounce it with the exclamation)
When our friend Gabe introduced the name of this dish to us, we loved saying it so much that it comes up in conversation at the most random moments. And what does this beloved word Babaluci mean? SNAILS. It is lightly salted and seasoned, bought in mass quantities for consumption. It reminded me a lot of the night market spicy snails sold in China. Babaluci is a bit too bland for my taste, but I love the name! Babaluci!

Panino con la Milza

Spleen sandwich stalls are everywhere in Palermo. I tried at a restaurant without even realizing what it was. It wasn't until a few days later that I realized I had consumed slices of RBC recylcing viscera on bread.... I must say, it wasn't so bad, tasted kind of like gyros. Not something I would crave when I leave Sicily, but not gut *ahem spleen* wrenchingly horrible, hehehe.

Bon appetito!

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