Making Salads Sicilian Style
Lettuce, chicory, radicchio, Belgian endive, radishes, the center and tender parts of the escarole, cucumbers,
onions, carrots, fennels, spinach, celery, peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes are some of the ingredients, used raw to
make salads. But an unlimited number of combinations are possible by adding to the above ingredients cooked
legumes, beans, fava, chick-peas and string beans, or other blanched vegetables like cauliflowers, asparagus,
artichokes, potatoes, and zucchini.
Salads can also be enriched and became a meal, by adding cheese, eggs, meat or fish.
A salad is a mixture of any of the above ingredients or a combination with any leftover, a good dose of fantasy and
theVegetables Giardiniera mandatory combination of salt, oil, and a sour
ingredient such as vinegar or lemon.
Vinegar is preferred because it is easy to use and delivers a pungent taste and a particular aroma.
A recommendation about a good salad is that “it must be well salted, with a lot of oil and little vinegar”, in fact
vinegar has to be used with parsimony because it contains toxic agents that decalcify and it is dangerous for
seniors and children, it promotes anemia and inhibits the absorbing of vitamins.
Because lemons are abundant in Sicily, they are the favorite ingredient in making salad dressing and sometimes
lemon juice and a few drops of vinegar are used in combination with olive oil and to make a perfect and balanced
salad dressing use 4 parts of oil to 1 part of vinegar.
Salad is preferred for the ease of preparation, the little time that it takes to make and because it can be served
as an appetizer, a condiment or “un Piatto Unico” –
a complete meal- with the necessary nutrition and it is well liked by most people.
A salad can be very simply made with any green vegetables like lettuce, escarole, cucumbers with onions, carrots
tomatoes, dressed with olive oil, a few drops of lemon or vinegar, salt and pepper; or it can be made of diced
tomatoes garlic and olive oil and served on toasts as an appetizer-the “bruschetta”, or chopped celery and “frutti
di mare” to make an appetizer of fish salad. The “Piatto Unico” – a
complete meal- usually includes boiled or roasted meat, cut bite size or fish without the bones, or eggs or
Finally, there are salads used as side dishes or appetizers made with cooked vegetables like caponatina or roasted
zucchini, eggplants, tomatoes dressed or preserved with oil and or vinegar.
Lastly the fruits salad served as dessert, made with assorted diced fruits in season, dressed with sugar,
lemon-orange juice and usually a bit of “rosolio” or a fruit liqueur.