There is a famous Russian journalist, who dedicated himself to studying island cultures. He claimed, that as every island population developed in insolation, its culture and social norms are so distinctive, that it is not easy for continental people to understand them. As the examples he mentions Japan and UK (he spent 10 years in both countries and claims that British people are quite difficult to go alone with). I don’t know how true it is nowadays, but I am sure that this principle is not applicable to another large island – Sicily. It was conquered so many time, that it is rather a melting pot of people, traditions and cuisines. Specially distinguishing in this sense is Palermo region, which was under strong Arabic influence, and thus features couscous as a traditional dish. And it were Arabs, who brought lemons into Sicily – they started cultivated it on the fertile soil of Etna. Many people trust that exactly due to this volcanic soil and Sicilian lemons have these inimitable sweetness, which born the saying: “Lemons are not lemons unless they are from Sicily”.
Lemons are used in many traditional dishes, like famous Granita. But in the summer a popular dish is past with lemon, as it has rich, refreshing flavor.
Spaghetti or tagliatelle_________400 grams
Olive oil______________________12 tablespoons
1. Boil spaghetti in plenty of salted water till al dente. Drain, reserving a splash of cooking water.
2. Chop the garlic and chili; put olive oil into a pan, add garlic and chili and sweat on medium fire for about a minute.
3. One lemon cut in segments, grate the zest and squeeze the juice from another one.
4. Put pasta in the frying pan, add a little bit of cooking water, lemon segments, zest and juice, basil, and cut tomato. Stir, season to taste, and adjust the density with the remaining cooking water. Add grated parmesan and butter. Serve straight away.
I found a very nice book of Jewish Cuisine called Olives, Lemons, and Za’atar. It is absolutely amazing reading, as the author, Rawia Bishara, brings her culture through this book: she writes about memories of her childhood and the eating traditions of the Holy Land. And all this is supported with the bright, colorful pictures full of sun. I am ready to pack my luggage and go to Israel, to see this wonderful country and to try all these delicious food.
One recipe looked especially appealing for me, and I decided to try it.
- Basil Pesto________30 ml
- Olive oil__________60 ml
- Garlic_____________3 cloves
- Juice of 1,5 lemons
- Flour______________30 grams
- Egg white__________1
- Panko breadcrumbs__100 grams
- Grated hard cheese_1 tablespoon
- Dried parsley______1 tablespoon
Baba Ghanouj or Mutabal__300 ml for serving. I obviously had none and neither did I have ingredients to prepare them, so I took:
- Peas_______________100 grams
- Chili pepper_______1
- Garlic_____________2 cloves
- Olive oil__________3 tablespoons
- Juice of a lemon
- Cumin______________1/4 tablespoon
- Pepper, salt
For the salad:
- Red onion________1/2
- Basil Pesto______3 tablespoons
- Olive oil________90 ml
Time of preparation: 15 minutes Difficulty: Easy
- Sun-dried tomatoes__400 grams
- Pine nuts___________30 grams
- Almonds___________ 20 grams (can be replaced with cashew)
- Garlic______________2 cloves
- A red pepper (optionally)
- Parmesan and pecorino_30 grams of each (optionally)
- Basil, salt, pepper to taste
Time of preparation: 40 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Pine nuts___2 tablespoons
Flour______ 150 grams
Thyme, Salt, Pepper
Time of preparation: 45 minutes Difficulty: Easy
Round Rice___ 300 grams
Cherry Tomatoes__70 grams
Peas_____ 70 grams
For the breading:
Additionally: One Sicilian boyfriend (or similar) to control the process and crack two eggs (you can guess who asked me to include this “ingredient” in the recipe).