CHRISTMAS ON TABLE IN SICILY
Christmas is the time of the year in which the major holidays are concentrated. In these special days in Sicily, people are preparing to fully experience the traditions that have been handed down to them and among these, the culinary ones occupy a very important place.
On Sicilian tables the day of Christmas lunch and dinner can not miss: savory crepes with a filling of anchovy in oil and ricotta, sweet and sour fried red pumpkin, Sicilian broccoli drowned with anchovies and black olives.
Another chapter is that of simple or stuffed focaccias, spread throughout the island with different names, types and fillings: in the Modica area there is the cudduruni, usually stuffed with spinach or broccoli, in the Ragusa area there are scacce and in the Catania area the chase away with fillings ranging from vegetables to meat. Palermo, on the other hand, is the home of sfincione, a high and soft focaccia topped with a very narrow sauce based on anchovies, onion, tomato and caciocavallo; in the Messina area we find focaccia with curly endive, anchovies, tuma and fresh tomato.
Then .. the first courses, Palermo immediately attracts the attention of diners with pasta with sardines (the first course “seas and mountains” of history, born over a thousand years ago). In the area of Ragusa during the holidays they prepare “lasagna cacate” that is seasoned with pork ragout, fresh ricotta and grated pecorino. In Messina, the tradition of pasta with ghiotta sauce remains strong, whether it is swordfish or stocco fish: the fish is cooked in a sauce of onions, white olives, celery, tomato, capers and wine. Spaghetti is seasoned with the sauce and fish is eaten as a main course.
Proceeding with the second, you cannot miss the fried cod, a real delicacy! It is a classic of Christmas lunches and dinners. In Augusta the fried cod is accompanied by “pipi sicchi”, that is dried pepper … a delight for the palate!
Another typical dish is falsomagro, the dish seems lean but it is only appearance. It consists of a slice of meat obtained from the pin or rump, beaten so as to flatten it, arranged in a roll and tied with string. Inside, a whole filling of condiments that contribute to making the lean fake: a slice of mortadella placed on the meat to contain sausage, spring onion, various cheeses, parsley. The filling varies from city to city. In Catania, for example, mortadella is used more, while in other areas they opt for prosciutto and pancetta.
Finally, the dessert. The best part. Sicily is known for the “Christmas sphinxes” (which according to tradition, the mother-in-law should prepare them for her son-in-law.) You can use various ingredients but, we choose the version with potatoes: they are kneaded until a soft mass is obtained and made rise for about two hours. They can be flavored to taste with lemon zest or cinnamon. Finally they are fried in abundant oil and when cooked are immersed in sugar.
Et Voilà the dessert is ready!
Many of the typical dishes are also offered in the menus of taverns, trattorias and in the Borgo di Luce I Monasteri Golf Resort & SPA restaurant, perhaps a little revisited but always following tradition!