Thursday, September 26, 2013


It's that time of year again and here come the prickly pears!  In their honour, I invented this recipe at the weekend. The idea of using fruit in a savoury dish has shocked some of my Italian friends again but the recipe worked really well. It's not for those of you who are sensitive to seeds, though.

Pollo ai fichi d'India - Chicken with prickly pears

If you're in Italy, ask your butcher to cut half a chicken breast a fettine. If you're in the UK, ask him to slice a boned, skinless chicken breast thinly. 

Peel three prickly pears in the way that a Sicilian taught me:  put the fruit on a plate or board and hold it steady on its side with a fork. Top and tail it. Still holding it steady with the fork, cut a lengthwise slit in the skin with a knife and then cut round the fruit.  You have to be careful not to touch the skins with your hands as you can still get a nasty prickle even if you buy the fruit dethorned.  Keep holding it with the fork to slice it.

Heat 4 tablesp olive oil in a wide pan and brown the chicken fillet slices lightly. Add 350 gr button mushrooms or sliced mushrooms and 250 ml white wine.  Stir everything and then add the drained contents of a 190 gr jar of small artichokes in oil. Set aside three or four of your tidiest prickly pear slices for a garnish later and add the rest of the slices to the pan. Season the mixture with seasalt to taste and a few twists from a peppermill of mixed peppercorns. Cover the pan and cook for about 50 mins over a low heat.

Just before the end of cooking, take the pan off the heat and add 200 ml panna di cucina [Italian cooking cream, which is thinner than British single cream].  Stir it in well and put the pan back on the heat for a couple of minutes, still stirring.

Garnish the dish with the reserved prickly pear slices.

Buon appetito.


Jenny Woolf said...

I got such awful prickles in my hand when I stupidly picked a prickly pear when I first moved to Malta, as a teenager. Must have been mad!

This sounds like a nice, unusual dish.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Jenny. I stupidly picked one up the first time I came to Sicily, too. The prickles took ages to go! Thank you.

Lee said...

You're very inventive and industrious, Pat! Good on you! :)

Whispering Walls said...


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, Lee and WW.


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