SICILIAN EGADI TYPICAL DISHES
In Sicily, cuisine has always been closely linked since ancient times to the historical, cultural, and religious influences that this area has suffered. Since ancient times, thanks to these external stimuli, a very specific style of culinary habits has been developing which, over the centuries, has been enriched with new flavors and new dishes.
Although the Egadi area is rich in spices, aromatica plants, oregano, mint, rosemary, thyme, the product that most represents the culinary tradition of the Egadi Islands is undoubtedly tuna, a legacy of the glories of the past. Anyone here still remembers how engaging tuna fishing was: this activity involved several hundred men and women, from the tuna fishermen, under the guidance of their boss, the “Rais” to the workers of the Florio factory.
The knowledge of these foods has spread today not only nationally, some have even been included by UNESCO ad an intangible heritage of humanity.
It would not be forgivable to leave the Egadi Islands without having tasted at least a part of the main culinary specialities of the archipelago.
In the various places of Favignana it is very “fashionable” to consume foods based on tuna and its derivatives in the form of aperitifs, in the Egadi islands often called “aperitonno”. Toasted bread croutons seasoned with excellent olive oil, flavored with local herbs and essences, garnished with various local delicacies.
Tuna bottarga: with an exclusive taste, it is prepared with tuna eggs enclosed in a bag, once salted and pressed, they are dried in the sun.
La ficazza: salami typical of the Egadi islands, the parts of the tuna that remain attached to the bone, carefully separated, are ground and seasoned with salt and pepper, then stuffed, pressed and dried.
The tonnina: dorsal part of the fish preserved in salt. Ideal as an appetizer, it has an intense and decisive flavor.
Do not miss “Egadi spritz”, an excellent Mediterranean taste, light and with an unmistakable orange color. It is obtained by crushing two slices of Sicilian blood orange together with a little pomegranate and mint, then adding crushed ice, Aperol, prosecco and a sprinkle of soda.
SPAGHETTI WITH SEA URCHINS
Among the first courses based on fish, spaghetti with sea urchins is a real delicacy, with few ingredients it is possible to enhance the taste and scent of the sea. Sea urchins are biological indicators of the health of the marine environment.
The edible parts of the sea urchin are the orange-colored wedges arranged in a radial pattern that we find inside the urchin opened with a special tool. These wedges are the eggs, which we will gently collect in a bowl, separately we will cook a sauté with garlic, oil and very little pepper, add a few teaspoons of eggs and immediately remove from the heat.
We boil spaghetti (possibly produced in the territory with bronze drawn), after having drained them we add them to the sauté, add a pinch of pepper, the remaining sea urchin eggs and a handful of chopped parsley. We serve.
Today couscous is a flagship of the local culinary tradition. The story tells that couscous has come to Trapani from Africa since the times of Arab domination and that in the nineteenth century it spread massively, when the workers of Trapani began to go to the Tunisian coasts exporting culture and traditions. In San Vito lo Capo, a festival dedicated to it takes place.
There are differences between the cous cous of Trapani and that of North Africa which essentially concern the cooking and above all the ingredients. In our territories the cooking takes place with steam, inside a particular terracotta container called couscousiera (pot composed of two superimposed elements, one of which houses the broth and the other contains the previously mixed semolina), the other difference is that couscous in Trapani is made with fish.
The first step consists in preparing the sautéed with oil, onion, garlic and parsley, then the tomato pulp, bay leaf, fish in chunks, paprika, saffron and chopped almonds are added. Cooked for about twenty minutes and seasoned with salt and pepper.
When the semolina is cooked, it is added to the hot fish broth and left to rest well covered for a few hours, once the broth has been absorbed, the couscous is ready to be served.
It was a recovery dish, born of poverty and intelligence that becomes “a virtue of necessity”. A poor dish that was made with the scraps of couscous semolina badly netted, which were not thrown away and reused to prepare soups with vegetables.
The name “frascatole” originates from the French “flasque”, which means soft, in dialect it becomes frasc and after frascatole. Today it is not a poor dish, it is prepared by working the semolina obtaining a coarse grain that is seasoned with vegetables, with lobster sauce or with fish soup, it is a dish entered in the register of local intangible inheritances.
They have a history linked to the life of those who worked at the Florio factory.
Poor dish, born from tuna scraps that were given to workers as a sort of payment.
The ability of women to find a way to recover these scraps gave birth to meatballs with the addition of breadcrumbs, today a delicacy, prepared with the finest parts of tuna, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley, basil and beaten egg.
CASSATELLE DI RICOTTA
Cassatelle are sweets stuffed with sheep’s milk ricotta, typical Sicilians, in particular from the province of Trapani, already known since 1700, prepared especially in the Easter and carnival holidays.
They are a kind of sweet ravioli filled with ricotta, sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips, they are fried by immersion in hot oil. For the pasta we use durum wheat flour, sugar, olive oil, Marsala wine and lemon zest.
It is a typical Sicilian production included in the list of traditional Italian food products.