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5 of the Best Sicilian Dishes and How to Order Them Like an Italian


Thousands of years of history, culture and cuisine reflected in one unique island setting make Sicily one of Italy’s most complete and popular tourist destinations.

Afterall, as they say: “To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all.”

And where better to get a sense of the history than through the best Sicilian dishes that appear on the island’s menus. They reflect the influences of the past, the rich gastronomic traditions of the region and the wealth of locally grown and harvested produce.

Here are five of Sicily’s must try dishes, along with audio on how to correctly pronounce them in Italian. So brush up on your ordering skills and save yourself the embarassment of having to point at the menu this holiday.

Simply listen, repeat, order and eat!

1. Caponata

HOW TO PRONOUNCE IT:

One of the island’s most characteristic dishes is the iconic caponata. Eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onion and tomatoes are served often sweet and sour, seasoned with dried fruit, sugar and vinegar and eaten alone or with crostini, or even as a side to fresh fish. Here’s the recipe.

2. Bucatini con le Sarde

HOW TO ORDER IT:

A perfect symbol of Sicily’s cultural richness, this iconic first course recipe mixes pasta with fresh sardines, fennel leaves, raisins and pine nuts.

3. Pasta alla Norma

HOW TO PRONOUNCE IT:

Fried eggplants, tomato, basil and salted ricotta are the key ingredients of the summer specialty pasta alla norma and a must try on any visit to the enchanting island.

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4. Involtini di pesce spada

HOW TO ORDER IT:

Swordfish rolls are another typical Sicilian “secondo” found on the menu, particularly in Catania. Prepared with thinly sliced fish fillet and stuffed with a mix of simple yet tasty ingredients from the island like capers, olives, breadcrumbs and tomatoes, this dish is one of the island’s summer must trys.

5. CASSATA

HOW TO ORDER IT:

The Sicilian cake called cassata is arguably the most famous sweet of Sicily. Cassata is today a complex cake of layered liqueur-soaked genoise interspersed with sweetened ricotta cheese, fruit preserves and jellies surrounded by marzipan and decorated with Baroque garnishes and flourishes of marzipan fruits, rosettes, flowers, and curlicues.  

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