Focaccia Agrigento Style
Agrigento and its province are one of
the richest places in the world for archeological treasures; the culinary landscape is diverse and tastefully
reminiscent of its history, folklore and traditions.
La Valle dei Tempi,
Temples’ Valley, where many Greek temples are located, is a territory south of Agrigento, gently sloping towards
the sea where Porto Empedocle Vigata, a port city on the coast of the Strait of Sicily, is situated about seven
The cuisine of this province is
very familiar to me because my family has been close friends with the Trapani family, originally
from Porto Empedocle Vigata. We spend festivities, holidays and weekends together, enjoying each
others’ culinary specialties and sharing our friendship while having good conversation and good
brother-in-law, Valentino Amodio, my sister Anna Maria’s husband, is also from Porto Empedocle, and I have had
many opportunities to sample the Agrigento cooking style of his family.
both by my brother-in-law’s family and by the Trapani family, is a rectangular focaccia stuffed with fried
onions, tomatoes, sliced boiled potatoes, anchovies, herbs and cheese. The cuddiruni in bianco, a “white” version, is made using cauliflower instead of
tomato. Each family makes different variations, sometimes adding meat, fish or vegetables.
Those specialties are eaten at picnics, at the beach, at parties and, without fail, for Christmas Eve and New
oz fresh active yeast or 3 envelopes of dry yeast
- Pinch of salt
Or buy 2 lb. of bread dough in your local Italian
5 medium onions,
sliced ¼ inch
½ cup olive
1 can (28 oz)
Italian peeled tomatoes
Few sprigs of
4 cups boiled
potatoes, sliced, about 1¼ lbs raw
The Other Essentials
filleted anchovies, rinsed (optional)
½ cup grated
½ cup diced Caciocavallo
pan (13 x 8)
4 tablespoons of
olive oil for baking
In a bowl, mix ½ cup of warm water with the yeast. Add ½ cup of
flour and mix until it is well blended and a soft dough is formed. If it is too dry, add some water; if it is
too watery, add some flour. Set aside, covered, in a warm place. After 45 minutes to 1 hour, combine the
risen dough with the remaining flour, add some lukewarm water, a pinch of salt and knead to obtain an elastic
dough similar to bread dough. Make a ball, cut across the top to allow it to rise again, cover and put in a
warm place until it almost doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours.
4-quart saucepan, over a medium flame, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the onions and add a pinch of salt.
Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions release their juices. Place onions in a colander to drain the cooking
4-quart saucepan, over a medium flame, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil with the drained onions and sauté for 5
minutes or until the onions are light golden in color, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, drain peeled tomatoes, cut them in half and eliminate
some seeds. Add the tomatoes to the onions.
Lower heat to low, add basil, salt and pepper and simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until all the liquid is
absorbed, stirring occasionally. Set aside. If the result is too moist, drain the liquid. Remove
dough is ready, split it into 2 pieces. Briefly knead each piece and roll one to cover the greased baking pan
(13 x 8). Make sure that the dough goes a little over the edge of the pan.
the onion-tomato sauce into the pan and evenly spread the potatoes and grated cheese over it.
Add the diced Caciocavallo and the
anchovies; sprinkle oregano evenly.
Moisten the edge of the impanata with water and knead the other piece of dough. Roll and place it on
top. Pinch it all around to make sure it is firmly sealed.
With a fork, pinch a few holes on top to allow the vapor to escape.
some indentations with your finger on top of the cuddiruni, sprinkle
2 tablespoons of olive oil on top shake the breadcrumbs over it and then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of
olive oil on top of the breadcrumbs.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, bake for 15 minutes, rotate and
continue baking for an additional 15 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown.
Agrigentina in Bianco
U Cuddiruni chi
To prepare the cuddiruni in “white,” substitute cauliflower for the
Prepare the cauliflower as follows
medium head of cauliflower into florets, 1½ to 2 lbs; rinse and slice into pieces a ¼ of inch.
4-quart saucepan, bring about 2 quarts of water with ½ tablespoon of salt to a boil. Dip the cauliflower into
the boiling water to blanch them and remove as soon the water returns to a boil. Drain and set
Gently mix the onions, potatoes and
cauliflower, add salt and pepper to taste, set on the side and follow the above