Vegetables in theSicilian Tables

 

Huge varieties of vegetables are grown in Sicily and large quantities are consumed at every meal as a side dish or sometimes as a main dish, a treat not necessarily reserved only for vegetarians.

For culinary purpose, vegetables are intended leaves, like spinach, lettuce, or roots like radishes, carrots, or stems like celery or flowers like broccoli, or seeds like peas, fava, chick-peas, or bulbs like garlic, or fruits like tomatoes, squash, zucchini and olives. Also used in Sicilian cooking are: herbs, spices and some leaves used to enhance or complete some vegetables dishes.

 

                   

 

But aside from the nutritional value, the vegetables that are part of the Sicilian diet are and have been used as remedies to solve health problems since ancient times. The secrets and knowledge of the use of vegetables and herbs is handed down from generation to generation and usually in every family there is someone with this knowledge and ready to give any needed advices.

In my family we had la zia Giovannina, a cousin from my father’s side, who was our adviser and our family health manager. Zia Giovannina helped when my mother was in labor; she would prepare all the necessary articles for the midwife or the doctor and in fact she was present when all of my siblings and I were born. Zia Giovannina was called all the time to try the home-made cures that she knew how to use. The family’s doctor would only be called if the natural healings were not one hundred per cent effective. She had ingredients handy and available in our pantry for every possible affliction: her treatments worked most of the time and some of the remedies she employed are still used in modern medicine.

All vegetables are utilized as a remedy to take care of specific afflictions; common vegetables like escarole, dandelion and endive, along with chick-peas, rice, beans, lentils, artichokes, fennel, garlic, and the omnipresent lemon, bay leaves and aloe leaves are the most frequently used curative agents.

Scroll down to continue the introduction: 

Sicilian Vegetable Recipes 

 

Escarole

Cauliflower Sautéed

Cauliflower Fritters

Baked Cauliflower

Zucchini Sautéed

Cucuzza – Summer Sicilian Squash

Broccoli - Introduction

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Saltati

Sparaceddi

Frittedda  Fried Vegetables Frittellata di Verdure

Stuffed Vegetables Verdure Ripiene - Virduri Chini)

Peppers Recipes

Fava Beans Syracuse Style (Fave Bollite  - Fave Vugghiuti a' Siracusana)

Maccu of Fava Beans

 

Spinach Recipes

Spinach  (Spinacio - Spinaci)

Spinach Sautee ( Spinaci Saltati)

Artichoke Recipes

Artichokes- Introduction and Preparation (Carciofi - Cacocciuli)

Baked Artichokes Alla Contadina-Viddanedda

 

Stuffed Artichockes:

Stuffed Artichokes Carciofi Ripieni - Cacocciuli Chini)

Stuffed-Attuppati Palermo Style (Cacocciuli Attuppati 'a Palermitana)

Sicilian Style Stuffed Artichokese (Carciofi Farciti alla Siciliana - Cacocciuli Chini)

Stuffed Palermo Style  ( Farciti alla Palermitana - Cacocciuli Chini)

Messina Style  ( Carciofi Farciti- Cacocciuli'a Messinisi)

Catania Style  (Carciofi alla Catanese - Cacocciuli 'a Catanisi)

Syracuse Style  (Carciofi Ripieni - Cacocciuli Chini 'a Siracusana)

Ragusa Style (Cacocciuli Chini co' Cascavaddu Rausanu)

Caltanissetta Style  (Carciofi alla Nissena - Chini 'a Nissinisi)

Agrigento Style  (all'Agrigentina - Cacocciuli 'a Girgintana)

Trapani Style  (alla Trapanese - Cacocciuli Chini 'a Fucuneddu)

Enna Style (alla Ennesse - Cacocciuli Chini 'o Piacentinu)

 

Tomato Recipes

Tomato Introduction Pomodoro - Pummaroru)

Stuffed Tomatoes  Pomodori Ripieni - Pummarora Chini ca' Muddica

Tomato Salad

 

Fennel Recipes

Finocchi - Fennels

Fennel Baked Sfincione  (Finocchio a Sfincione - Finocchi a Sfinciuni)

Braised Fennel with Red Onions Finocchio Brasato con Cipolla Rossa - Finocchi 'Ngranciati

Fennel with Tomato Sauce Finocchio con Salsa di Pomodoro - Finocchiu cu' Sucu

 

 

Cardoon Recipes

Cardoons Prep. & Cooking (Cardoni - Carduna) Preparation & Cooking

Fried Cardoons  (Cardoni Fritti - Carduna Fritti)

Cardoons Salad  (Cardoni all'Insalata - Carduna 'a 'Nzalata)

Cardoons in Pastetta )Cardoons in Batter & Fried (Cardoni in Pastetta -

 

 

Potato Recipes

Potatoes Introductiono (Patate)

CroquettesSicilian Style (Crocche' di Patate - Cazzilli)

Potato Salad Recipes (Patate all'Insalata - 'Nzalata ri Patati)

Baked Potatoes (Patate al Forno - Patati 'Nfurnati)

Baked Potatoes Sfincione  (Patate a Sfincione)

Stewed Potatoes (Patate a Spezzatino - Patate Aggrassate)

 

 

Eggplant Recipes

Eggplants Introduction - Milinciani-  (Melanzana - Milinjiani or Milinciani)

Eggplants Parmiciana (Melenzane alla Parmiciana - Milinciani a Parmiciana)

Eggplants Stuffed Beccafico  (Melanzane a Beccafico - Milinciani a Beccaficu)

Eggplant Polpette Croquettes (Polpette di Melanzane - Purpetti ri Milinciani)

Eggplants with Ricotta  (Involtini con Ricotta - Milinciani ca' Ricuotta e cu' Caciu)

Stuffed & Abbuttunati (Melanzane Ripiene - Milincianeddi Chini e Abbuttunati)

Rolled eggplant w/Salami & Cheese (Melanzane con Salame e Formaggio - A Bracioli)

Stuffed and Grilled Eggplants  (Melanzane alla Griglia Ripiene - Milinciani Arrustuti)

Eggplant alla Cardinale Family recipe by Rosalia Salvo

Egglants in Oil  (Melanzane Sott'olio - Milinciani sutt'Oghiu

Grilled Eggplants Vinaigrette (Melanzane all'Agro - Milinciani c'Acitu)

 

 

 

However tomatoes are not only good as a sauce for pasta condiment or because they are rich with lycopene, an anticancer agent, but also in case anyone was afflicted with a boil, Zia Giovannina had the right cure using a few slices of tomato applied to the affected area along with a high protein diet, zabaglione in the morning and meat at dinner: this remedy works perfectly and the problem is solved as soon as it starts to develop.
For all sorts of inflammation, the broth made with escarole, dandelion or endive or the combination of them was the ideal medication along with a diet “ in bianco” which means boiled fish or meat, little bread, pasta with olive oil without cheese, and for breakfast ricotta.
If the inflammation was in the urinary track, “mangiare in bianco” and the remedy was to be solved by going to the herbal store, near my home in Palermo, across the street from the church of La Gancia. The remedy would be that, for seven consecutive days, drink half a liter glass of “Acqua di Gramignia” , a tea made with couch grass, and “macchiata” stained with a dash of milk.


Diabetes was cured with a diet containing no sugar, honey, or flour, with small quantities of fish or meat and by eating chickpeas and dandelion boiled in plenty of water and drinking the broth which it was believed that was curative.
“Agita”, the indigestion was remedied with half a glass of water, juice of a lemon and a pinch of baking soda: the same ingredients found in Brioschi Effervescent Antacid.
Burning stomach: drinking tea with bay leaves.
Ulcers: milk mixed with cream 5 times a day, bread and ricotta for lunch and pasta and olive oil at night.
Constipation: dry figs, dates, prunes, nuts. I loved this remedy, and I used to claim this indisposition often…..
Diarrhea: lemon juice and rice.
Asthma: lemon juice and an abundance of leafy vegetables and salads.
Anemia: goat cheese, liver, dandelion or endive, salads and dry fruits.

 

Another health restoration was Zia Giovannina diet, very simple and very effective. One week dieting and one week moderate normal diet, until the ideal weight is achieved.
For breakfast: one lemon, 3 ounces of all grain bread with 1 tablespoon of ricotta.
For lunch: one lemon, 4 ounces of all grain bread with 2 ounces of cheese.
For supper: one lemon, 4 ounces of pasta with one tablespoon of olive oil and one cup of boiled chickpeas with half tablespoon of olive oil.
In the evening: a snack with few dry fruits.
Maybe this diet is not suitable to anyone but it is very effective.

 

 

 

I could go on and remember more of the many remedies, for pimples the aloe Vera, the fennels to help the digestion, the beans, peas or lentils to gain strength, a tea made with malva sylvestris for dermatitis, cough or sore throat, a lemon and sulfur solution for itch, artichokes beneficial to the liver, garlic and apple to lower the blood pressure, coffee and wine to rise it, broccoli and cabbage to clean the

system and today they appear to be very valid cancer fighter elements.

 

 

 

 

 

But let me conclude by saying that vegetables are really good for us and with or without our knowledge they are the best medication we can treat our body with.
They are delicious, they are fulfilling and they are never harmful to our health.


Sicilian Vegetable Recipes 

 

Escarole

Cauliflower Sautéed 

Cauliflower Fritters

Baked Cauliflower

Zucchini Sautéed

Broccoli - Introduction

Broccoli Rabe

Broccoli Saltati 

Sparaceddi

Frittedda  Fried Vegetables Frittellata di Verdure 

Stuffed Vegetables Verdure Ripiene - Virduri Chini) 

Peppers Recipes 

Fava Beans   Syracuse Style (Fave Bollite  - Fave Vugghiuti a' Siracusana) 

Maccu of Fava Beans 

  

Spinach Recipes 

Spinach  (Spinacio - Spinaci) 

Spinach Sautee ( Spinaci Saltati) 

   Artichoke Recipes 

Artichokes- Introduction and Preparation  (Carciofi - Cacocciuli) 

Baked Artichokes Alla Contadina-Viddanedda 

  

Stuffed Artichockes: 

Stuffed Artichokes Carciofi Ripieni - Cacocciuli Chini) 

Stuffed-Attuppati  Palermo Style (Cacocciuli Attuppati 'a Palermitana) 

Sicilian Style Stuffed Artichokese (Carciofi Farciti alla Siciliana - Cacocciuli Chini) 

Stuffed Palermo Style  (   Farciti alla Palermitana - Cacocciuli Chini)  

Messina Style  (   Carciofi Farciti- Cacocciuli'a Messinisi) 

Catania Style  (Carciofi alla Catanese - Cacocciuli 'a Catanisi) 

Syracuse Style  (Carciofi Ripieni - Cacocciuli Chini 'a Siracusana) 

Ragusa Style     (Cacocciuli Chini co' Cascavaddu Rausanu) 

Caltanissetta Style  (Carciofi alla Nissena - Chini 'a Nissinisi) 

Agrigento Style  (all'Agrigentina - Cacocciuli 'a Girgintana) 

Trapani Style  (alla Trapanese - Cacocciuli Chini 'a Fucuneddu) 

Enna Style (alla Ennesse - Cacocciuli Chini 'o Piacentinu) 

 

Tomato Recipes 

Tomato Introduction  Pomodoro - Pummaroru) 

Stuffed Tomatoes  Pomodori Ripieni - Pummarora Chini ca' Muddica 

Tomato Salad 

  

Fennel Recipes 

Finocchi - Fennels  

Fennel Baked Sfincione  (Finocchio a Sfincione - Finocchi a Sfinciuni) 

Braised Fennel with Red Onions    Finocchio Brasato con Cipolla Rossa - Finocchi 'Ngranciati 

Fennel with Tomato Sauce  Finocchio con Salsa di Pomodoro - Finocchiu cu' Sucu 

  

  

Cardoon Recipes 

Cardoons Prep. & Cooking  (Cardoni - Carduna)  Preparation & Cooking 

Fried Cardoons  (Cardoni Fritti - Carduna Fritti) 

Cardoons Salad  (Cardoni all'Insalata - Carduna 'a 'Nzalata) 

Cardoons in Pastetta )Cardoons in Batter & Fried (Cardoni in Pastetta - 

  

  

Potato Recipes 

Potatoes Introductiono (Patate) 

CroquettesSicilian Style (Crocche' di Patate - Cazzilli) 

Potato Salad Recipes (Patate all'Insalata - 'Nzalata ri Patati) 

Baked Potatoes (Patate al Forno - Patati 'Nfurnati) 

Baked Potatoes Sfincione  (Patate a Sfincione) 

Stewed Potatoes (Patate a Spezzatino - Patate Aggrassate) 

  

  

Eggplant Recipes 

Eggplants Introduction - Milinciani-  (Melanzana - Milinjiani or Milinciani) 

Eggplants Parmiciana  (Melenzane alla Parmiciana - Milinciani a Parmiciana) 

Eggplants Stuffed Beccafico  (Melanzane a Beccafico - Milinciani a Beccaficu) 

Eggplant Polpette  Croquettes (Polpette di Melanzane - Purpetti ri Milinciani) 

Eggplants with Ricotta  (Involtini con Ricotta - Milinciani ca' Ricuotta e cu' Caciu) 

Stuffed & Abbuttunati (Melanzane Ripiene - Milincianeddi Chini e Abbuttunati) 

Rolled eggplant w/Salami  & Cheese (Melanzane con Salame e Formaggio - A Bracioli) 

Stuffed and Grilled Eggplants  (Melanzane alla Griglia Ripiene - Milinciani Arrustuti) 

Eggplant alla Cardinale Family recipe by Rosalia Salvo 

Egglants in Oil  (Melanzane Sott'olio - Milinciani sutt'Oghiu 

Grilled Eggplants Vinaigrette  (Melanzane all'Agro - Milinciani c'Acitu)