Salt flower & Cookies

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui

When you live in three different houses and you move with many things in different bags, losing something is inevitable, above all in the house where your family lives.

I had lost my Fleur de Sel.

I searched and searched and then it reappeared in the most unimaginable place and , above all, it was reduced to a half O_O
Once my mother forgot to go to supermarket and use it to cook the pasta. Tablespoons of Fleur de Sel thrown away for the pasta…

Now I have to wait for the end of summer for the new harvest.

Thanks to connection, or rather I’m Giovanni’s girlfriend, Giovanni is Salvatore’s friend, Salvatore is the Lord of Saline Calcara (Calcara salt pans, I talked about them here), I’ve the last sack of this precious salt from the last harvest at Saline Calcara one year ago, and it was free.

But…how much is the salt at Trapani?“…mmm in effect the normal salt is a cheap substance BUT this is NOT a normal salt, this is the first salt, the best one, and it could be very expensive.

Two years ago I didn’t know fleur de sel (salt flower, if you prefer) but knowing the owner of a salt pan could be useful and romantic! During the summer nights in August, when there aren’t tourists at the salt pans, they are the perfect location to have a party with friends and walk between the pans with your boyfriend under the moonlight.

When there isn’t the moon, salt pans are immersed in the darkness and you can see only lights of far near town, over the sea, because Trapani port and the salt pans look mutually. You could see the Milky Way and thousands of stars, without that urban light. But when there is the moon, which illuminates the pans, stars are on the water.

Between August and September the sun beats down in Sicily and the sea water in the pans begins to evaporate. The first salt on the surface is fleur de sel, little salty isles even surrounded by much water and unadulterated because all impurities sediment. They look like crystalline water lilies which sparkle the thin moonlight, the salt flower indeed.

I don’t know if they call it flower thinking the water lilies or because it’s the best quality of salt.

It’s an unrefined salt but however fine enough, without manipulation. It’s hand-picked by “salinai” (the salt pickers), like in ancient times, when it’s crystallized on the surface because of the mix of wind and sun, and for this reason it’s a Slow Food Presidium product.
There aren’t additives nor preservatives and it includes a more varied mix of mineral salts. It has less sodium chloride, because which it doesn’t cover flavours of foods. I’m looking my Fleur de Sel and it’s silver-grey, damp and friable.

Don’t use it to cook pasta, as a person I know are doing because she forgot to buy it at supermarket. Conserve it for more refined dishes and the unusual recipes.

I wanted the Fleur de Sel to prepare cookies. Yes, Fleur de Sel cookies.

I was looking for an alternative to the usual biscuits for the breakfast at Giovanni’s B&B and I like to test new recipes. I was looking for something of particular and typical in the same time (Trapani sea salt is a Slow Food Presidium but serving it alone for breakfst is not a good idea 😀 ) so I used a Sigrid Verbert recipe from her wonderful food blog Cavoletto di Bruxelles. It’s in italian but there is Google Translate “luckily”.

I tried to translate the recipe for you below:

Fleur de Sel Cookies (Estimated time : 2 hours for kneading, leaving to stand and baking)

• 250 gr/8,82 oz/2 cup “00” Italian Flour”
• 125 gr/4 oz butter
• 125 gr /4 oz/ 1/2 cup white sugar
• 10 gr / 5 tsp vanilla-flavoured powdered sugar ( I used directly 2 gr/ 1 tsp of vanillin)
• 1 egg
• Half teaspoon of Fleur de Sel

I hope that the weight conversations are correct O_O For types of flours I found this article with descriptions of Italian flours

Ok, now we make the cookies:

You have to sift the flavour and mix ith with white sugar, vanillin and fleur de sel.

Add the cool butter (before dice it) and start to knead crumbling all ingredients, the flavour has to “absorb” the butter.

Create a little mountain with flavour crumbs, make a well in the centre and break the egg into it.

Now knead, knead and knead.

When you have a consistent dough, create a ball, cover it with a film and put it in the fridge for one hour.

After you have to roll the dough on a slightly floured surface and obtain a thickness of about 4 mm. Now you can cut the dough in the shapes you prefer while the oven heat at 160 °C. Arrange the cookies on a baking tray ( cover it with the greaseproof paper) and cook for 13 minutes (10 minutes if you want a light color)

With these doses you can have 35-40 super good cookies, with few cheap ingredients you can make a good impression :). You see the little salt crystals “sparkling” on the surface. The flavour? Much vanilla with some crunchy salty crystals distincted. Particular!

This post is short but the translation was very hard. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed for your cookies 😛

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to have breakfast at Belveliero in front of Trapani port, you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com .
If you prefer to have breakfast at Boutique B&B Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops with us, write to granveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email to receive a discount! 😉 )

Annunci

Flowers in Sicily | April

Wild fennel flowers in Sicily

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui

Some months ago a man pointed out us that the foreing people imagine Sicily dry and yellow but it’s because they come here in July or August and they marvel of the colours of our lands in April.

The Sicily isn’t nearly barren! I wrote this post for the first time in italian during the passage from a very rainy winter to a scorching summer preview, in the end of April. There wasn’t spring this year but luckily I never shifted the clothes in my wardrobe this year. It’s prevision (presage?), not extreme disorganization. And in those days before the “terrible” sicilian summer I walked and walked and know I show the sicilian country in spring.

In April the lands are full of “Sulla” (Hedysarum coronarium), that is fuchsia flowers for happy cows. It’s a native plant in Sicily and there are big fuchsia carpets in this month, also because it was planted specifically for pasture. It’s appreciated by cows and bees. It can be eaten in salad or omelet, both flowers and leaves, but I don’t know its taste. If you don’t like new age salads you can put them in a pot, they are long-lasting.

Wood-sorrel” (in italian: Acetosella gialla, Oxalis pes-caprae), that before I knew as “The flower with stem tastes like lemon”. Doing searching on Internet I found this definition: growing over, (in Sicily it’s wherever) but it’s so nice with its lemon yellow flowers that it isn’t kind define it like this.

Also this plant can be used in salad but you can also take one and squeeze the stem by teeth, it has a light sour taste. I suggest you to eat only the flowers picked up in open country, it’s less probable that a dog went pee on. Eat it little because the oxalate acids are harmful to kidney. I think it’s the most typical and nice wild plant in Sicily.

Wild glad in Sicily

The wild gladiolus (Gladiolus italicus), the Poetess and me picked up many and many of them during our walks, while the two Nespule looking for us alone, sad and disconsolate. They have fuchsia-violet flowers and we tried to plant them because they are simple but really elegant. They are frail, don’t leave them under the sun after harvest them. I couldn’t reproduce them in the vase, of course.

Sicilian broom, ginestra

The broom, that plant much loved by your mother,reason why your father didn’t hesitate to stop in motorway to harvest big bundles of them. This is my (very old) memory of this plant with yellow flowers.
– Memory number 2: they have a terribly hard trunk, you have to use a knife to cut them (their fibre was used to make ropes).
– Memory number 3: they smell nice and the bees like them (I discovered this particular while daddy, unflappable, harvested them next to me O_O).
– Memory number 4: They are very resistant and few discerning but they can be infested by aphids (I discovered this hugging a big bundle for my mother ).
– Memory number 5: my mother liked them very much.
– Memory number 6: that evening had on tv the terrible movie ‘The House of the Spirits‘.

Brock daisies and nice little daisies. I always liked wild daisies but I didn’t ever harvest them to put in a pot on the table, because I hate their stink! (and lilium smell too) I prefer other daisies that I saw, they are white and little and nice and Scopello parking lot is full of them. They remind me of the toilet paper that my parents bought when I was a child, with printed flowers and a so intense fragrance. (Ok, you can close this page)

Poppies in Sicily

Poppies! By now I don’t see many of these nice red flowers but when me and my brothers were children, our mother took us to see big exquisite red lands surronded by buildings at the Trapani periphery. I’m sorry their fragility, you can’t harvest and put them in a pot to have a happy awakening.

Wild fennel flowers in Sicily

Wild fennel. Sicilian lands are full of this plant but I didn’t know it. I took a picture of these ones in the lands around Segesta temple, before the sunset. It’s a likeable wild plant and it is an Umbellifera. The fennel is used everywhere but in my opinion the best use is in “pasta con le sarde“, spiced with the small tender branches you find during a walk. Actually fennel is good for everything: against the stomach ache, vomit, good for liver, seeds are used to aromatize the sausage in Sicily and it can be hallucinogenic O_O

Yellow and violet cardoon, in the end of April they are everywhere in Sicily. They are infest but nice, it’s a Lady Gaga Flower. It’s also the flower that reminds the sicilian shepherd Dafni, his parents were Hermes god and a nymph. He was beautiful like all shepherds of greek mythology (but their beauty genes are lost in current shepherds). Dafni was killed by his betrayed nymph-girlfriend and the Earth created the cardoon because of the pain.

Wild Iris in Sicily

Wild Iris in Sicily

Wild iris is one of the most elegant and hidden wild flowers, they are so tiny. I discovered that the meaning of its name, in greek, is rainbow and this is enough for me 🙂

Unknown wild flowers in Sicily

Unknown wild flowers in Sicily

Mistery flowers. I don’t know their name but I like them because they seem many tiny suns 🙂

I love pictures of flowers, I HAD TO write a post about flowers in Sicily. I walk slowly and I’m always the last of my group but I like take pictures of them and their evanescent beauty. When I see again these pictures it’s as remembering little happy memories, just for one moment. They don’t make you definitively happy or solve your problems but 5 minutes of beauty every day refresh the heart. Ever.

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )
If you prefer to sleep in Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops write to granveliero@gmail.com

Eccentricity of Sicilian people at the table in 22 points, Second part.

I had to publish this post before Christmas but… this is my snail blog, above all the English (my terrible English, I know) version, so, please, forgive my lateness 😦
Anyway here the second part of the post about the strangeness of sicilians. Sicilians are very strange people in general and they think ever the food so imagine the multitude of absurdities of this people at the table. At least 22, here the first ten, now the others 🙂

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

11. The “sfincione” pizza. It’s the second culinary incomprehension in Sicily. The “sfincione“, a typical street dish of Palermo, isn’t a pizza! and Palermitans get angry when you make the mistake. It’s a two fingers tall dough, dressed with tomato sauce, onions and “grascia” (dirt), because the best sfincioni are sold on the street, in little carts, built by the pitchman’s grandfather and NEVER cleaned by the grandmother. The best street food in the world is made with decades of bacteria, oil and spits, sorry 🙂

12. The italian dictionary is wrong. If you ask for marzipan fruit, anybody tell you that marzipan doesn’t exist in Sicily. Try to ask for “Frutta Martorana” and they’ll pass bucketful of almond scented fruits to you. The bread crumbs? It doesn’t exist too, there is the “muddìca” or “mollica” in Sicily.

13. A satanist son is better than a vegan one. I think that with the exception of caponata and marzipan fruit, there aren’t many dishes without pig, sheep or horse meat, milk and derivatives, without pecorino or ricotta cheese in every form. The survival in Sicily is very very hard for a vegan. If you don’t eat cheese, egg or meat and are sicilian, don’t say it to your grandma or mother, they may feel bad. Get off! At night, in exile, but I don’t know who could help you. Being a vegan condemns to loneliness and to disqualification from every social event of sicilians, first among everything the feast of grilled sausage and bacon on Easter Monday, but also that one on 25th April (Italy’s Liberation Day), on 1st May (Labor Day), on 2nd June (Italian Republic Day), on Assumption day (a religious holyday, 15th August) and for every sunday on which you don’t know what to do and someone makes the land, the garage or the balcony, available.

14. I don’t like ricotta cheese. It’s a variation of 13th point. It’s a rarity but there are people who don’t like ricotta cheese. The sheep would be worth staying on the flag of Sicily, in place of Medusa and being declared sacred, together to its biggest gift, the milk…and the ricotta cheese. Hot, cool, sweet, salty or baked, it’s hard to avoid it in Sicily but nobody wants to do it! Hating ricotta is like hating Nutella, who declares a such heresy is looked with suspect and diffidence.

15. Eat slowly. Me and Giovanni are sicilian but when we sit down at the table, Giovanni seems Flash Gordon’s lost son, grown among ostriches in Africa. Fortunately opposites attract and when I’m at the table the time expands, my time perception collapses and an hour seems a quarter. During the meal we talk and waste time, with one dish or five ones, we relax and decompress the worries, till the coffee and the grappa. When I eat the second second course (it’s not echo), Giovanni has worn the jacket. There are few people as Sicilians who have understood the pleasure to eat but when there are the lessons about this concept, Giovanni was at the toilet.

16. Eat a farm quickly. Sometimes the reality imposes a chaotic rhythm and a quarter-hour must be of 15 minutes. Ok, Giovanni, sometimes you’re right. But we are in Sicily and the health is important for sicilians, so we can’t be satisfied with only a plate of pasta for all afternoon. For this reason we can eat three dishes, the sweet and the fruit in a quarter hour. To not faint at work and survive till the snack hour.

17. The sunday lunch never before 2 p.m.. It’s rudeness to ask someone to have lunch on Sunday at midday or at 1 o’clock, we aren’t at the hospital. We have to do so many things before! Breakfast at 9 a.m., the break at 10.30, the second break at 12.30, for example with an ice-cream. The midday is the perfect time to eat it because it’s cold and doesn’t occupy too space in the stomach. Aaaaafter you can have lunch, neither before 2 p.m. nor after 4 p.m., it’s Sunday!

18. Being ready for emergences, ever. We do much shopping and cook many dishes for one meal for this reason. Anything could happen and it will happen that day you won’t be ready, as in the perfect version of Murphy’s Law. The famine could come or it could snow for ten minutes and we could be blocked at home because of one millimeter of snow, because nobody has the chains in Sicily (excluded in hinterland). Eating much helps to mantein the corporeal temperature or to have a reserve for cells for the period of famine. We could faint while we are crossing the street, we could die in that case! The palermitan drivers look the traffic light for pedestrians and start when it’s yellow, to gain time, after all the traffic light for drivers will be green in two minutes, it’s the same! A relative with his five sons and daughters in law could arrive or a bus full of tourists could have broken down in front of your house and we don’t chase anyone away and staying all together is always pleasant. We could meet friends at the beach and it’s rude to not invite them under the umbrella to have lunch. Here’s why, sometimes, you see set tables, chairs and baking trays with “anelletti al forno” (baked pasta) at the beach! And also if you don’t meet anyone…all know that the beach whets the appetite! 😀

19. Give back the plate clean. For the emergences (see 18th point) and for courtesy. If there is half kilo of pasta in your plate, you MUST eat all, because it was cooked on purpose. Nobody wants you feel bad because of hypoglycemia near the traffic light. More over, when you will talk about that meal, you will not have to say that there was little food. Obviously you must go for seconds. You can reject the third offering only if you say to want a double portion of sweet.

20. The last spoonful is embarrassing. Before the last little piece, part or slice of everything, the commensals become like the young couples at the first month and stand on ceremony. (In reality all want the last piece and who decides to leave the formal dispute, after regrets. I say always “Yes, I want it” at the first time 🙂 )

21. Cheese on the pasta with sea food. Montalbano Commissioner hates this combination too. Sicilians hate bad made arancine, bad called sfincione but above all they hate the cheese on the pasta with sea food. If someone sees you to do it and wants to take your scalpo with the spoon, nobody will help you. And they’re right.

22. The Earth goes around the Sun, Sicily goes around the Food. Sicilians talk ever about the food and think it continuously. Sometimes a dude arrives at work, at 9 o’clock, and ask to you “What will you have for lunch?”

Don’t forget, it’s to laugh. Obviously we don’t eat caponata for breakfast every day, nor cannoli (as tourists think), but it could happen. (Once I ate caponata for breakfast, but it was midday U_U) 🙂

Bye, bye and sorry for my usual delay and my terrible English.
If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )

Eccentricity of Sicilian people at the table in 22 points , First part

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

I’m late with “English” post, I know but I write too long articles and when I try to translate them I would cry, the original italian version has been written two weeks ago :/

This post has been inspired by my mother, who once, seeing the bread upside down, scolded me in a peevish way ‘Don’t put the bread upside down!
But…why?
Because you mustn’t put it in this way!!!
What kind of answer is that? It’s a very sicilian answer, there isn’t a reason, it’s like this all along, it’s not necessary asking it also if it’s a mistery the reason. This episode wasn’t the only one, it was a real mania of my mother and when I discovered the reason I began to observe all strange things at the table of sicilian people. There are many eccentricities but before I sat down at the table plunged in the happy ignorance.

1. Don’t put upside down the bread!. Because it’s the body of Christ. Not because all do it just in this way!, nobody knows the reason nor asks it. And not even because, how my mother answered, trying to gloss over my harassing questions, the sesame seeds fall on the table >_> (here the most wanted bread has the sesame on).

2. Nothing is wasted. Considering that the most wanted bread has the sesame on and considering that the sesame is insidious and moves everywhere and you find the tablecloth seeds covered, considering that the breadsticks are splendor of restaurants and that a sicilian thinks about food 23 hours 24, considering that his/her thought has to be alleviated during the delay of dishes and, this is the most important thing, considering that nothing is wasted, also when there are the breadsticks, all sicilians, inevitably, as if they have a tic, moisten the fingertip and begin to plant it on the little seeds and to eat them, like an eager bird. They nod, talk gritting their teeth and pic, pic, pic fasten the seeds and bring them in their teeth, this is also a system which allows to re-moisten the finger in automatic way, like the self-inking stamps.

3. There is always the bread on the table. Both with one dish and with ten, because as my father said “You put in weight because you eat too and you eat too because you don’t eat the bread (to accompany the other foods, so you don’t satisfy your hunger)“. If you have the belly you know the reason.

4. But there isn’t ever the room-temperature water. There is always the cold water in winter and the water with ice cubes in summer. The expression “ambient temperature” is used only by the gardeners.

5. If it isn’t fried probably it hurts. The grilled food is permitted only during the good feeds in the country or in the terrace or in the balcony or in a street fenced by two cars. The parmigiana with grilled eggplants isn’t even served in the hospital. The fried food is everywhere in Sicily and it’s impossible avoid it. The fried has been under discussion also with my sweet love, the Medlar, who shifted me from the burner saying “You can’t cook!” because I’ve put less one half litre of oil to fry the zucchini for the pasta and I’ve added a drop of water. Since then he cooks and I wander around home into a coma because of fatty acids.

6. Tanto ogghiu unni’ chiange. “Because he doesn’t cry drops of oil”, so it’s useless. In Sicily the olive oil is used to cook the stones too, so it’s very precious. When olive oil pours down, all thirty-five commensals stand up to recover it. Somebody can say because it brings bad luck but actually because it’s very expensive because you buy it from your country neighbour, you don’t buy it at supermarket. Look 7th point.

7. Don’t buy the olive oil at the supermarket! When you are an university student and study far from your home, also the pantry moves with you and with it there is the bottle of fresh olive oil, that one bought from your neighbour, who has the plot adjacent at yours and four olive trees and wanted a kidney in excharge of his genuine oil, but we know that the genuineness costs. The fresh olive oil paradox is that has a cloudy and suspect colour and a poisonous flavour but this oil divides the biomaniac sicilian people, there are those people who wait ONLY the bitter fresh olive oil to eat it with the bread, rigorously made in a country bakery with wood oven, and the people who use ONLY the oil of before year, because it has a reassuring colour and a compatible with human life flavour (me). There is just one thing in common, don’t buy the olive oil at the supermarket, because you don’t know the origin, the olives, when they have been harvested, maybe it’s mixed with motor oil!!!. The bioconspiracy is old hat to sicilians.

8. Rosticceria for breakfast. When you enter in a bar to have the breakfast at 7 o’clock the counters are full of sweets and rosticceria, baked but above all fried food, for example arancine, it’s normal. I think that it was normal in Italy and not only in Sicily. I changed idea after my visit at Vatican Museums.
Once I visited Vatican Museums and considering that they are big my friend Andrea suggested to bring the packed lunch. After 10 o’clock a sicilian already thinks about the lunch, so at half past eleven you expect the rosticceria ready also at bars of Rome.
Bar number one, only rice salad.
Bar number two, rice salad and sandwiches.
Bar number three, rice salad, sandwiches and pizza.
ME: “Excuse me, are there only these dishes?” (Three full counters)
Barman: “What do you mean?”
ME: “Isn’t there rosticceria?”
B.: “There is the rice salad!”
ME: (Yes, now I put the rice in my pocket!). “No, no, rosticceria, I mean arancine, calzoni (baked closed sandwich)…”(iris with meat were a too advanced level request)
B.: “Calzoni? By this time?” O_O
ME: “But it’s even eleven o’clock!”
SILENCE
B.: “Sorry Miss, we have just this food”
When you go to the museum, you learn many things…

9. Badly made arancine. Talking about Rome I remember the poem written by a roman poet, Trilussa. In this poem he writes that happiness is a little thing, for example for the bee the happiness is a flower.
When you wake up at 7 o’clock to go to lesson and outside it’s cold with eight degrees, when it’s recreation time or come out of university after ten hours, or the break time is arrived and you are tired, sleepy, bored or stressed out, happiness could be near. It’s small, cheap, magic and fried! It’s arancina, that hot oily fatty ball that t’arricria, comforts you, before to buy it and after you have eaten it. Thought, desired, yearned and then finally conquered and eaten, after you see the world in a colorful way, pink like the ham, green like the peas and red like meat sauce. The hash house that disappoints these expectations risks the financial collapse (or a huge 800A (sicilian swear word) written with spray paint on the shop window).

10. Badly called arancine. Arancina is female and I talked about this matter here. Unfortunately the sicilians of western side of island call arancine with a male name and in Sicily there is the Big War for the gender of arancine. Really. When the fight about this matter begins, it lasts for hours, days, weeks. Maybe the argument of the post or the article is the sicilian whale or the UFOs in Sicily or the sicilian whales which use flying saucers, it’s not important, if someone writes arancina or arancino in a comment, all following comments are just about the gender of arancinA/arancinO. I swear. If you have to ask an arancina and don’t know if it’s the correct name in the correct place, just point your finger at it.

Soon (I hope) the Second part with other eleven points, stay tuned… 🙂

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in Belveliero you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email 😉 )

Arancina is female! About a war for the gender of the most famous rice ball of the world.

Sicilian language arancini arancina

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui.

Sicily is not a quiet island. There are volcanos, earthquakes and…sicilians who argue. In particular the sicilians of western side and the sicilians of eastern one. Palermo is in the vanguard of West and Catania and Messina “command” the East. The disputes are about soccer (clearly), culture and food, even the food’s names. Sicilians are able to fight for a vowel, litterally. Above all they fight about the gender of the most famous rice ball in the world, the arancinA (female name)/arancinO (male name)…from centuries.

In Italy the male names often end with O in the singular and with I in the plural, whereas the female names end with A (singular) and E (plural) in most cases.

Some years ago, to increase my books collection without tears, I printed the tales written by the most famous living sicilian writer Andrea Camilleri “Gli arancini di Montalbano“, free downloaded, printed and stapled decently to not lose three or four diopters and because I don’t like these fake books made by bites and one of these tales is “Gli arancini di Montalbano” indeed.

The story is set during the days near the end of year and the police commissioner Salvo Montalbano reject the invite of his girlfriend Livia to celebrate the last day of the year in France. Salvo is a food lover and a fine expert of sicilian cooking and he wants to stay at home and eat the “arancini” made by his “cammaréra“, maid, Adelina, the mother of two previous offenders, two petty criminals, arrested once no and twice yes by Salvo. One of them is arrested exactly during those days and Salvo tries to help him not for altruism but to eat the arancini.

But the matter about which I wanted to talk wasn’t this. The matter is that every time I thought the title those arancinI drove me mad, with that “I” strident like a nail on the board. How can that happen? This writer is very famous in Italy and his peculiarities are the acuity and writing in sicilian dialect! He writes “vruoccoli” (broccoli) and “vastasi” (rude), so why does he write “arancini”?, arancini is an italian word! it’s a typical sicilian recipe and the correct name is arancinE, female, and not arancinI, male. In that time I thought that and saw that title like a treason, because even I didn’t know about the “ Great War of Arancine“.

But some time after I ‘knew’ Fabbro. I put it between quotes because I talk with Fabbro from 5 years and I never shook his hand. We talk talk talk and talk on Facebook, I from Trapani and he from Messina, I tell him my whimperings and he tells me his bad lucks and we have never meet yet, we don’t want to run the risk of realizing finally that we are two nuisances and decide to not talk anymore. With Fabbro, at least once a year, on the day of Saint Lucia (in western Sicily, Trapani and Palermo, we use to eat fried rice balls and cuccìa, made with wheat, because we cannot eat pasta and bread on that day but, in reality, it’s just the perfect excuse to stuff ourself of prohibited fried food full of millions of calories), I argue because of these blessed arancine. That he calls arancinI. But I call arancinE. But he insists on calling them with the I / O (such as donkeys I would say 😀 ).

In this way I discovered that arancinI isn’t only an italian word but also a sicilian word!

On this question, the gender of rice balls, there is a real war in the island, because Palermo, Trapani and western area of Agrigento call them arancine, with the female name, because they are like small oranges, and in italian orange is “arancia/arance” (female names with A/E in italian language, do you remember?), the eastern part of the island calls these balls arancinI, because in Sicilian dialect orange is (also) ‘aranciu’, arancio, male. This would be wrong in italian language because the male names indicate the tree and not the fruit but in sicilian dialect there isn’t this difference and also the fruit would be male. So, why in italian are these balls called arancini, isn’t it wrong? No, because it’s the directly adaptation from the dialect, but losting the starting concept, it’s like a little orange! Recapitulating : Western Sicily arancine, Italy and Eastern Sicily arancini… only that they make a pyramid, not a ball, in honor of the volcano Etna (and because you can eat them while they open in a more manageable and decent way). Right here the first controversy by Occidentals could be: assuming that the correct name should be masculine because orange is aranciu in dialect, when you make it like a cone, the orange goes to hell, no? Call it Vulcanello (little volcano)! I’m confusing too, imagine the confusion there is in Sicily!

On this subject you find blogs, articles, comments and thousands of “sciarre“, quarrels, because if you decline it in the masculine in Palermo, palermitans are offended (and I attack with a feminist conference that never ends on the matter of the female orange and the shape and golden breading and blabla too) and the historic rivalry between the sicilian capital and the eastern Sicily takes off and continues beyond the scoop of rice.

Unfortunately, the authorship of antediluvian recipe of this milestone of sicilian cooking is unknown, we can’t solve the issue of copyright and hence there is the problem that the inventor is not one but many. The recipe was begun by the Arabs before A.D. 1000 or better once upon a time the emir of Syracuse Ibn at Timnah for which they created the rice timbale seasoned with saffron and enriched with herbs and meat to carry it around during the hunting and then Federico II, another glutton sovereign, came and his court ordered to prepare the timbale with the brilliant fried breading that prevents the breaking of the ball (the right size is that of tennis ball, unless you go to the bar Touring in Palermo where they make arancine “bomb”) and allowed a better preservation during trips around the island. When in the second half of 19th century there was the spread of tomato in the cooking, the sicilian gluttons were definitively ruined and the monsù (from french “Monsieur”), the French chefs serving the Sicilian nobles, to rice and saffron added the sauce with the meat, exactly in the middle, and made the rice ball with surprise, the arancina.

In Sicily there are the classic ones with meat sauce or with butter and ham, typical at Trapani and Palermo, at Messina with pistachios and then also in thousand thousands variants, at Trapani I found that one with seafood and, wandering from town to town, with the boar, with broccoli and salmon. There are also those stuffed of Nutella and covered with sugar and some people think that once the original version of them for Saint Lucia was sweet, but today they are considered a heresy and simply inedible.

Perhaps it would be more correct to call them with I because the name is in dialect, but I have trained all my friends of the continent to use the female version because it is a small orange and who cares if the orange in dialect is an aranciu. Because eating an arancina is a voluptuous experience, it’s warm and round, squeaks when you bite it, that feeling that gives you is a little shock to the senses, with the sense of smell, with tongue and thought you get to that fragrant rice with saffron, pasted with starch but with distinct grains, and then arrive to filling, in an almost orgasmic satisfaction that continues in subsequent bites, where stuffing, rice and breading remain separate but in the same mouthful and there aren’t many dishes that give you an alike satisfaction. Do you want to call this magnificence with a male name? It’s hard.

At the end I like the female arancina, maybe, probably, is the habit but I like that fuller and langer sound that ends with A, that we italians pronounce with the open mouth, as we had to show the throat to the doctor, arancina reminds me of the fullness and the softness of woman, her body, her breasts, I can’t called it in another way, the “womanliness” becomes it more.

I don’t know how you should call it for not being lynched on the public way, certainly if you take the field to discuss it you become old and won’t solve the centenary question but in the end the most important thing is eating and enjoying it, maybe if you have time you can do it, in the variations that you prefer, as the famous Adelina did, who uses a different recipe here, perhaps because she’s from Agrigento, I tried to translate it from sicilian dialect:

“Adelina spent two days to prepare them. She knew, from memory, the recipe. The day before you make an “aggrassato”, a stew, of beef and pork in equal parts, that must cook in a slow fire for hours and hours with onion, tomatoes, celery, parsley and basil. The next day you prepare a risotto, what they call “alla milanese” (without saffron, for Heaven’s sake!), it is poured on top of a table, knead with the eggs and let cool. Meanwhile you cook peas, make a sauce, reduce in small pieces some slices of salami and make a whole, grinded by mezzaluna knife (no blender, please). The sauce with meat is blended with risotto. At this point you take some risotto, set it in the palm of a hand made like a bowl and put in spoonful of compost and cover it with other rice to form a nice ball. Each ball rolls in flour, then it’s passed into the albumen and bread crumb. After, all arancini are fried in a pot full of hot oil until they change color, like old gold. They let drain on paper. And in the end, thanking God, you eat.” AMEN.

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