Sicily is a food lover’s paradise: anyone who has walked the streets of Palermo, Trapani, Catania or Syracuse will undoubtedly agree. In Sicily it is impossible not to stop at every street corner and try a local delicacy. Whenever I get a chance to travel there, coming home is always a blow to the heart. My taste buds yearn for the authentic flavours and my eyes long for that triumph of vibrant and intense Mediterranean colours. Luckily, I found a way to take Sicily home with me by creating recipes that are indulgent and simple at the same time and can evoke those feelings of long, hot sunny days, dives in crystal clear waters and the warm hospitality of the Sicilian people.
Sicily is the biggest Mediterranean island, with unique regional flavours and as much glory in the landscape, as in the coastline.
I’ve made it a point in my travels to find ingredients and produce that spoke to me about the history and heritage of this magnificent region. Firm fleshed swordfish delightful to the eyes and to the palate; sun-kissed tomatoes, delicate aubergines, vibrant red, green and yellow peppers and salty capers all lovingly marry together in the caponata; busiate – the most characteristic of pasta from western Sicily – effortlessly combines with pesto Trapanese made with pecorino and fragrant almonds. And if I had to describe Sicily with a dessert, what better than cannoli, with their crunchy shell and creamy ricotta filling – so quintessentially Sicilian you will hear a voice in your head that says ‘va tastalu! (go taste it!)’.
Welcome to Sicily... It’s time to turn on the stove.
For your meal you will need:
- A large pan for cooking the pasta & a sauté pan or bowl for dressing it
- A colander or slotted spoon for draining the pasta
- A griddle pan, BBQ or frying pan for cooking the swordfish
Busiate with pesto Trapanese
Busiate is the most characteristic of pasta from western Sicily and when mixed with pesto Trapanese, you’ll get the perfect union of Mediterranean and Sicilian flavours.
Your pack serves 2 and contains:
- Fresh busiate pasta
- Pesto trapanese
- Grated Pecorino
Have ready a big pot of boiling, well-salted (10g/litre) water
- Put the busiate on to boil – they’ll take 5 minutes if you like them al dente.
- Once the pasta is nearly cooked, drain it (making sure to keep some of the pasta water).
- In a pan or bowl, add a splash of the water and stir well to combine the ingredients.
Swordfish, caponata & salmoriglio
I think there might be more ways to make caponata than there are Sicilians. As a result, I change my approach from time to time – the current version hails from Modica, in the south-east. Here, we eat it with majestic swordfish – caught in the narrow straights of Messina that separate Sicily from the mainland – and salmoriglio, a pungently perfumed agrodolce sauce of fresh oregano & onion.
Your pack serves two and contains:
- A hefty slab of swordfish loin
- Allow all ingredients to come up to room temperature – remove from the fridge at least half an hour before cooking.
- Heat a BBQ, griddle pan or heavy frying pan till smoking hot.
- Season the swordfish with salt & pepper, and lightly oil the surface
- Cook on a high heat for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on thickness – it is ready when the tip of a knife, inserted into the centre, comes out warm.
- Remove from the heat, and let rest for 2 minutes, then slice into strips.
- I like caponata at room temperature, and so eat it as it is – but if preferred, feel free to warm it gently in a saucepan for a few minutes – though it is far better warm than piping hot.
- Spoon the caponata onto a serving dish, then arrange the swordfish slices over.
- Spoon over the salmoriglio.
Watermelon, red onion & oregano salad
Sicilians are famous for how much they love their watermelons. They will do anything to keep them fresh and cool – even if it means submerging them in the cool waters of the Mediterraneans when they take a day trip to the coast. We buy Sicilian giants, the size of a not-so-small child – and cut these 16kg beasts into fat slabs, ready to send on to you. Here, it makes a superbly light, refreshing & delicious salad. Sweet watermelon beautifully married with savoury onions and the intoxicating perfume of fresh oregano.
Your pack makes a side for 2 and contains:
- A wedge of watermelon
- A little red onion
- Fresh leaves of oregano
- Slice the watermelon into thin strips, and lay on a plate.
- Finely slice the onion and scatter over.
- Dot with the leaves of fresh oregano, then season generously with salt, and judiciously with pepper.
- Douse with fine oil.
Cannoli – fried tubular biscuit shells of Marsala-infused pastry, filled with sweetened ricotta and spiked with candied orange, bittersweet chocolate and fine Bronte pistachio, is man playing God with your palate. Fill them at the last minute, or even better, at the table for a DIY dessert.
Your pack makes 2 cannoli, and contains:
- 2 freshly fried cannoli tubes.
- Enough sweetened ricotta (studded with dark chocolate and candied orange peel) to fill them.
- Finely chopped Bronte pistachio
- You can fill these before you start cooking your meal - they keep fine for a few hours - or the moment before serving. Or you can do as we do in Bocca - decant the ricotta into a small bowl, and DIY the filling at the table.
- Hold a cannolo tube gently.
- Snip a corner from the bag of filling, and pipe the filling into each tube.
- Use the spoon to scrape the filling level to the slanted open ends of the cannolo.
- Dip both ends in the pistachio, to render them a perfect green.
ALLERGENS: all packs are prepared in a mixed kitchen, we cannot guarantee the absence of ANY allergen. All packs of this dish contain dairy, gluten, alliums, eggs, celery, nuts.