Five Sicilian Dishes That You Have to Try
Everyone knows how good authentic Italian food is – and the cuisine of Sicily is no exception. This post looks at five of the best-of-the-best Sicilian dishes, so that you know exactly what to eat when you head to the Mediterranean’s largest island for your sailing holiday – whether it’s for breakfast, a main meal, or dessert!
You may have had these before if you’ve ever had Italian antipasti – if you haven’t, then you are missing out! Arancini are deep-fried rice balls coated in breadcrumbs. They are stuffed too, often with beef ragu, mozzarella or peas. They originate from 10th century Sicily, and on the island they are sometimes made in a cone shape in homage to Mount Etna – look out for these for ultimate authenticity! You may find these in small portions, but they are just as ideal as a main meal when they will likely be served with some sauce for dipping and seasoned with fresh herbs.
This is a dish that combines a cooked aubergine and celery salad, seasoned with capers and a sweet and sour sauce. That’s about where the consensus ends though – pretty much every Sicilian cook will have their own idea on what else should be added to make the perfect caponata! This could mean red peppers, onions, tomatoes, parsley or basil all being thrown into the mix. Whatever the ingredients, one thing is for certain though - the Sicilians sure know how to do veggie! So, on your Sicilian yacht charter, don’t think you can simply tick off caponata from your list after the first try…
Sarde a Beccafico
This dish is a true taste of Sicily and one that you probably haven’t heard of or tried before. It’s considered a poor person’s dish; one that traditionally the fishermen would eat, and which actually mimics a more expensive dish eaten by the richest Sicilians. The low-cost does not mean that taste is sacrificed at all however! Sardines are stuffed with raisins, anchovies, pine nuts, parsley and lemon and then baked in the oven and served at room temperature. Delizioso!
Now that we’ve covered main courses, it’s time to turn to the all-important desserts! Cannoli is the first of two sweet treats on this list. It is a tube-shaped pastry shell filled with a creamy, ricotta-based filling. They vary in size, from finger-sized to the size of a whole hand, if you’re lucky! Cannoli have been adopted into Italian-American cuisine, so there’s a chance that well-travelled readers might have tried these in America – but we highly recommend trying these in their native home!
Granita con Brioche
The second of our Sicilian desserts, Granita is a semi-frozen dessert that comes in a wide range of flavours. It’s similar to sorbet based on appearance, but it has a coarser texture – this can vary though, from very coarse in Palermo to something very close to sorbet in the east – so there’s your excuse to try it more than once on your holiday! You’ll find a range of flavours including lemon, mandarin, strawberry, coffee and mint, and these all vary throughout the year depending on what’s in season.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Granita con Brioche is the breakfast variety – yes, you can have this for breakfast! As the name suggests, this involves Granita being served alongside a Sicilian brioche pastry and is particularly common in summer.
So, there you go – a little culinary bucket list for your sailing holiday to Sicily. Buon appetite!