Pesce Fritto - Pisci frittu


Because fish has a particular delicate or robust or subtle flavor, in order to enjoy their natural taste they can be cooked without adding anything to them, or as it is done in Sicily, simply add salt, olive oil and lemon. 


Fish of the blue family, because of the high oily contents, usually are boiled or grilled, other types of fish, big or medium size are either grilled or baked in simple sauces, so not to take away form their fine taste, small fish as a rule are fried and eaten sprinkled with salt and fresh lemon juice. 

In the north Atlantic coast of the United States, the popular whiting, smelts, haddock, tilapia, cod and small fish are abundant; in Sicilian families these fish are mostly pan fried and in fact they are gutted, cleaned, then the fish are sprinkled with salt and pepper, dredged into flour, fried and served with slices of lemon and in modern times with tartar sauce.

Fillets are usually dipped in flour then dipped in lightly beaten eggs and fried.

In Sicily, olive oil is mostly used for frying; I prefer peanut oil because it can get to higher temperature and make the fried fish crispier and less oily. 



  • Flour   
  • Oil   
  • Salt and pepper   
  • Lemon wedges   




Cleaning the Fish


Use a fish scaler or a butter knife to remove scales by scraping from the tail toward the head. Utilize a pair of scissors to cut and remove the tail, the dorsal and side fins. Make a cut from the belly to the vent and remove the entrails with your fingers. Rinse well, with running cold water, cut any large fish into portion size pieces, and keep covered with ice in the refrigerator, until ready to cook it.

Or have your fishmonger clean and prepare the fish for you.


The Frying

Place the flour in a wide container. Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper, dredge it into the flour and thoroughly coat on all sides. Do 6 fish at a time and set on the side.

In a heavy skillet place 5 tablespoons of oil – about ¼ of an inch- and over a high heat, fry the fish cooking it on one side, for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden; do not crowd the pan. Cook the other side, remove and place on paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Repeat until all fish are fried.

Set the fried fish in a serving plate, shake over some salt and pepper, and garnish with lemon’s wedges.