Sicilian Appetizers    


An appetizer is a small portion of a tasty food or drink at the beginning of a meal to stimulate the appetite. (Webster’s) 


The Sicilian cuisine has no tradition of antipasto. It was an accomplishment when the majority of people could get three meals a day! 


In the baronial cuisine of the rich and noble families, the Sicilian chefs, called Monzu’ (a contraction of monsieur), would arrange a table with toasted bread entrenched in olive oil, olives, anchovies and other small appetizing dishes, served with wine when they were not ready on time to serve their masters and guests at the banquet. 





Sicilian Appetizers   


Pane fritto - Fried Bread 

Frittedda - Fried Vegetables   

Crispeddi - Fritters with Anchovies and Cheese 

Giardiniera- Vegetables in Vinegar 

Arancine - MiniatureRice Balls  

Viddanedda- Artichokes 


Funghi Farciti- Stuffed Mushrooms  

Gamberi all’Americana- Shrimp Cocktail 

Vongole Ripiene - Baked Clams 

Zucca All'Agro- Sweet and Sour Squash 

Capperoni - Caperberry Salad 

Peperonata with Pineapple 


Eggplant Appetizers: 

Preface: Eggplant  

Eggplant Croquettes 

Rolled Eggplants with Ricotta 

Beccafico-Stuffed Eggplant   

Eggplant Salad-Caponatina

Stuffed Eggplants 

Eggplant in Oil  

Eggplant Vinaigrette  

Grilled-Fried Eggplants  

Eggplant Bracioli 


Octopus Appetizers: 

Preface: Polpo - Octopus  

Boiled Polpo  

Octopus Salad 

Fried Octopus  



These morsels of finger food were not part of the planned banquet; in fact, this food was served “outside the work” and therefore was called, from the French, hors d’oeuvre(s)

The hors d’oeuvre is defined in the Webster’s Dictionary as “an appetizer, made of olives, anchovies, etc., served usually at the beginning of a meal.” 


I do not know the Sicilian translation of the word antipasto, and in my family, the antipasto was not customary to our meals. When we had guests and it was time to serve pranzo (dinner), a small table would be set with olives, anchovies, a selection of vegetables in oil and vinegar, occasionally a frittata cut into bite-size pieces, some wine and pane fritto (fried bread) or toasted sliced bread, moistened with olive oil, herbs and spices.
In the late ‘50s, when the economic boom improved social conditions in Italy, l’antipasto became part of all formal dinners and was not limited to olives, anchovies, etc, but expanded to include verdure fritte (fried vegetables), fish, meats, cheeses and many contorni (side dishes).