Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I am having to put the photos to go with this post on the next one, as for some reason Blogger's technology won't let me upload them onto this one. Please bear with me!
Well, focaccia breads, or scacce as they are known here, are fast if you buy them as food-to-go from the bars and panifici rather than making them! They are always freshly baked and smell delicious. The ones in the photo, from the salumeria-rosticceria-panificio Di Caccamo, are filled with tomato and cheese but there are all sorts of other fillings, broccoli being traditional at Christmas. They are often made in the home.

The second and third photos show arancine or rice balls, which people do usually buy. Ok, I know these particular ones are not ball-shaped but the name comes from arancia [orange] because of the original shape they were made in. I don't know why they are often made in this pear shape; I did read that the different shapes denoted different fillings but I don't think that's true any more. The ones in the photo are filled with a ragù and pea mixture. You sometimes get tiny, round arancine on your complimentary plate of snacks with your aperitivo in a bar.
By the way, your Sicilian fast food will be expertly wrapped, so it will still be hot when you get it home or wherever you are going!

A small dish of olives, another of dressed, semi-dried cherry tomatoes and what more could you want? - Just a gin and tonic if you're me!
Here is a recipe for focaccia which I sort of evolved over the years, in Britain. It won't give you what I call the "perfect fold" of the bought ones here but it works with British flour and all my Cardiffian friends found it moreish!

Tomato and Onion Focaccia
8oz strong white flour [you can use plain flour but the texture will be crispier]
1 sachet easy-blend yeast
pinch sugar
warm water [start with c. 5 fl. oz but you may have to add more]
1 egg yolk
5 tablesp extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
handful fresh basil leaves, torn
rosemary sprigs
coarse seasalt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the flour, yeast, egg yolk, sugar, 2 tablesp of the oil and as much warm water as you need to get a dough into a food processor bowl and process till the dough comes together. Oil the bottom of a glass or plastic bowl and put the ball of dough in, covering the bowl with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour. Meanwhile, fry the onion in another 2 tablesp of the oil until it is transparent but not brown. Let it cool. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 180 C / gas 4 and oil a baking tray. Roll out the dough fairly thinly; you want it about the width and length of the tray. Lift it onto the tray - the only way to do this is quickly! - in such a way that half of it is on the tray and half is protruding onto your work surface. Spread the onion onto the dough on the tray, then spread the tomatoes on top. Season. Scatter the basil leaves over. Fold the rest of the dough over the filling. Dampen the edges and press to seal well. Brush the top with the last tablesp of oil and prick all over with a fork. Sprinkle with coarse seasalt and rosemary sprigs. Bake for c. 35 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot or cold. [It is best made not too far in advance.]
Buon appetito!

No comments:


View My Stats