La pollanchella (la merenda da spiaggia in Sicilia)

Come il primo giorno in cui ho iniziato a scrivere sulle pagine di questo diario, è una suggestione ad essere la scintilla per le idee. Per le idee ma anche per i ricordi, i sapori e, of course, le ricette.
Il profumo che mi ricorda l’estate è, e sarà sempre, quello delle melanzane nostrane fritte (tagliate in lunghe fette sottili per preparare la parmigiana). Ma se penso ad una spiaggia assolata e ai suoi bagnanti immobili sotto la luce bianchissima del sole di luglio, mi torna alla mente il lungomare di Mondello e le “abbanniate” biascicate a cantilena dai venditori ambulanti: omini smilzi e dalla carnagione bruciata, o tondi e grondanti di sudore, che attraversano tutto il giorno in lungo e in largo la spiaggia carichi fino all’inverosimile, ciondolanti e coi sandali perennemente insabbiati.

“Coccòbello! ….Cooooooccòbello” – urla un siciliano pelle e ossa che somiglia più a un tunisino.

“Quant’è bell’à pollà”, “Caùra e tiènnera… A’ pollanchél” – grida, soffocando ogni frase, un omone con un’enorme e caldissima pentola di alluminio (la quarara) a séguito.

Credo che più che un’usanza siciliana, sia qualcosa che appartiene strettamente a noi palermitani. Non so esattamente chi abbia dato inizio a questa tradizione, però è certo che il mais, sebbene non soppiantò mai la coltivazione del grano (come accadde nel ‘500 nella pianura padana), veniva coltivato nelle campagne siciliane già secoli addietro; lo dimostra anche il fatto che uno dei tanti nomi italiani per identificarlo fosse, just, “granone siciliano”.

Tornando ai nostri giorni, e alle pollanchelle estive, penso adesso a quell’ora speciale del pomeriggio in cui i venditori, tornati in città, terminano il loro peregrinare tra i pochi vicoli non ancora imborghesiti del centro storico, approfittando delle ombre alte per un primo ristoro e per offrire, so, le pollanchelle e l’abbanniata estiva a chi ha potuto permettersi la consolazione del mare.

Tutto cambia e tutto è sempre lo stesso in terra di Sicilia, le tradizioni son dure a morire e a volte vengono fraintese, esasperate o storpiate, ma sono sempre lì, a rassicurare che il circolo si chiude e ritorna. Anche i venditori più giovani, ai quali sembra che il sole nuoccia più che agli anziani, ripercorrono le solite orme sulla battigia ma alterando la solita nenia per annoiarsi meno, a proposito di ciò eccovi questo video.

In general, but, sembrerà assurdo sostituire un fresco cono gelato con una calda pannocchia bollita, ma la verità è che la saggezza a tavola dei siciliani non va mai sottovalutata…
Chi sa se il venditore ambulante sa quanto, sebbene ricco di carboidrati e poco proteico, il mais bollito sia ricchissimo di: Fosforo, Magnesio, Calcio, Sodio, Potassio, Vitamina C, vitamina A e Folati. Tutti minerali che perdiamo con la sudorazione e che sono fondamentali per la nostra salute, soprattutto in estate!
Il miglior modo per mangiare le pollanchelle così che gli amidi non diventino pesanti e non si disperdano i minerali? Ecco la ricetta:

Pannocchie fresche bollite alla siciliana:


Scegliete delle pannocchie giovani, piccole e chiare (possibilmente dai semi non raggrinziti). Pulitele dalle foglie e dalla barbetta. Fate bollire una grossa pentola senza sale (in questo modo cuoceranno prima) e sbollentatele per 15-20 minutes.
Drain, salatene un po’ la supeficie e sgranocchiatele tiepide, comodi sulla vostra sdraio.
I più viziosi,  possono anche spalmarle con un po’ di burro e rosolarle sulla piastra; in questo modo, caramelladosi gli zuccheri delle fibre, si accentuerà sapore e dolcezza.

Posted in Vegetables, Picnic, Spring / Summer, Sicilianitudine, Vegetarians | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The (adorata) “Tarte Tatin”

La torta di Madame Tatin è una quelle meraviglie della pasticceria nate per puro errore (ah, se solo tutti gli errori dessero tali risultati!!). Una piccola dimenticanza, una distrazione sul lavoro, che portò alla nascita di uno dei dolci rustici più famosi della Francia, tanto da diventare addirittura una delle specialità della casa che il famoso ristorante Chez Maxime serve ancora oggi ai fortunati clienti.

Nei primi del ‘900 le due sorelle Tatin gestivano un ristorante nella regione francese detta Sologne. La storia racconta che un giorno, preparando una crostata di mele su ordinazione, una delle sorelle iniziò a cuocere il ripieno dimenticando di rivestire la base della tortiera con la pastafrolla. Lei cercò di recuperare la torta rivestendo le mele già cotte con la frolla, per poi capovolgere la torta, la conseguenza fu che le mele si caramellarono fino ad assumere un intenso color bruno-dorato accentuando la dolcezza e la croccantezza della crostata. Il risultato piacque così tanto al committente che da allora le sorelle Tatin brevettarono il dolce la cui fama si diffuse nel mondo.

Sembra incredibile che una semplice crostata di mele, per di più anche bruttina (perché la tatin ha sempre un aspetto un po’ “post-bellico”) abbia un tale successo ancora oggi: sapeste quanti amici mi chiedono di prepararla e quanti altri la rammentano con nostalgia! Il perché sta tutto nel suo sapore, quindi per comprendere seriamente la Tarte Tatin e la sua storia, dovete assolutamente assaggiarla!

Prepararla non è difficile, si deve fare solo un po’ d’attenzione a coprire bene i bordi con la frolla e tenere a mente che mele troppo mature e farinose non vanno bene; per quanto riguarda la cottura, essendo un dolce antico e rustico, non necessita del forno elettrico, rather, il forno a gas dà decisamente risultati migliori. La ricetta che solitamente uso io è quella della celebre “Ecole Le Cordon Bleu” di Parigi, ve la riporto tale e quale, ma ricordate che più risulterà bruna e un po’ bruciacchiata, più sarà buona!

Tarte Tatin du Cordon Bleu

Ingredients for 8 people:
60 grams of sugar
90 g in the burro
1 lemon
8-10 mele medie Granny Smith o Renette

Per la pasta frolla:
200 grams of flour 00
120 gr di burro non freddo
50 grams of sugar
1 uovo sbattuto
1 pinch of salt
estratto di vaniglia (optional)

Lavate le mele, privatele del torsolo, sbucciarle e tagliarle a metà dall’alto in basso, mettetele in una ciotola irrorandole bene col succo di limone affinché non anneriscano.
Preparate la pasta frolla frullando insieme a lungo lo zucchero col burro, aggiungete a poco a poco l’uovo, il sale e l’estratto di vaniglia. Unite a questa crema la farina setacciata, quando avrete creato un impasto omogeneo, formate una palla, stendetela allo spessore di 1cm, avvolgetela nella pellicola e tenete in frigo per almeno 20 minutes. After this time, spiante la pasta fino a renderla sottile 3mm e rimettetela in frigorifero su un vassoio.


Accendete il forno a 180 ° C. Prendete una pirofila del diametro di 20 cm e coi bordi inclinati, mettete il burro e lo zucchero lasciando fondere a fuoco medio finché inizia a caramellare, distribuite in cerchi concentrici le mezze mele (lasciandole in piedi), incastrandole strette perché perderanno di volume e lasciatele cuocere per 40-50 minutes, fino a quando si saranno afflosciate e caramella un po’.


Quando il liquido sul fondo si sarà asciugato, ricoprite con la pasta frolla ancora fredda incastrando i bordi fino al fondo della pirofila (spingendoli col manico di un cucchiaio). Forare la superficie della pastafrolla per fare uscire il vapore e infornare per 20 minutes. La pasta deve essere ben dorata e croccante, solo allora tirate via dal forno la crostata e, dopo averla fatta raffreddare pochi minuti scolate con attenzione il liquido eventuale che si sarà raccolto sul fondo. Capovolgete la torta, con un movimento secco, sul piatto da portata e servite fredda o tiepida accompagnando il dolce col liquido raccolto o con una pallina di gelato alla vaniglia.

Posted in Autumn / Winter, Pies, Fruit, Tea-time, Cake | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Night's Dream ... Al Baglio San Pietro

It can happen, today that working relationships are built on the web, to run into people who give much more than that for which it agrees.
Luigi will pick on Friday night with Sabine (to read in German, because she cares), I did not even have time to open the door of the house she has already taken the two-story walk, and stands there smiling, ready to help in transporting all the paraphernalia from pastry.

Prepare a cassata Palermo for seventy people expected something like 7 kg of cottage cheese to fill a mold with a diameter of half a meter. An order for a lunch special is the opportunity to know.

And Luigi, how do I find, I already knew him. Had met in the Faculty; he architect with a passion for art, nature, the sea and the kitchen. He, too, with the desire to "make things right", devise new ways of, shares, courtesies to offer: for an architect to design is an attitude, does not work.
Meanwhile Sicily depopulated inland swallows off-road in the dark; Sabine has fallen asleep, she is the first to get up in the morning, dawn waiting for her beloved horses and other animals under his care. It, how to find out the next day (scent that invades the court in the morning), she is also preparing cookies for breakfast.

In much the car arrives at the center of Sicily, and Luigi tells me the mount Altesina: in this place they met the three valleys in which the administration divided the Arab Sicily before the eleventh. We run, on the road, in a small fox and different leverets, Nicosia and cross a steep path leads to the edge of the forest, on the hill of Baglio San Pietro: it is night, and "night" in these parts means that you might miss in the dark, still do not know the magnificent view of the valley waiting for me to wake up.

I am housed in the manor apartments, small rooms in a building hidden among the trees, slightly higher than the beam. The rooms are heated by an ancient plant view, similar to that of long-standing apartments French. I did not sleep well for a lifetime!
Yes, now, but, I was waiting for the job: I had to prepare the cream cheese, chop "the knife" about a pound of chocolate but, all of a sudden, work has gone into the background. I guessed right out of the window I saw the horses walked free, with heavy steps and slow, carefully selecting the best herbs.

I started to follow them seeing the thorns of holly, perennial primroses, the lilac cosmee (prejudice among the footsteps of giants quadrupeds).

I understand, so, I waited two days different from what I'd imagined, so do not tell of what and how I cooked it, but a special place where the clocks themselves forget the time.

The cream cheese could be expected. So I married the time of the Baglio San Pietro (and, I assure you, the beginning is not easy to suddenly slow down the pace citizens): fresh fava beans if one be old bench seat while the baker comes with a basket of warm bread; farmers, with their comings and goings of freshly picked vegetables, greet me curious, Sabine and churns out the latest trays of biscuits. I feel so good!

Luigi starts to arrange a menu, and I also know his mother, Mrs. Anna, a cheerful woman, laughter of the young girl and the refined gestures. Determined and welcoming, gaze attentive to every thing and that distracts from the room only when I ask to be able to photograph. The same attention to providing guests, and to me! It brings me around to show me the most beautiful views of Nicosia, Search the exact spot from which to make me see Mount Etna snowy and Sperlinga castle nestled in the valley.

Return I have the opportunity to discover the cheerful character of this family (even those who are not of the family is as if it were), sitting at a table laughing and we are told. Sabine also speaks to me of her beloved horses, enthusiastic about telling the story of each: there Mocaido said Bimbi, Rebecca is the mother of Furio; there Tornado, found during a storm in Carlisle but, despite the name, is the most good and shy. There is Isle Of Dogs, an Italian thoroughbred trotting; and Moon, the gray horse. And then there are still: Moretta the pony with her foal, and the family of donkeys.

E 'already afternoon and there are many things still to be done (but slowly). I do not know whether to stay in the kitchen or watching Luigi participating in the excursion in the woods. No more than an architect-chef manages to combine better: precision and creativity, the innovative idea and respect for the natural material. The evening will see Luigi throw away all the bacon and croutons explain to his assistant chef who: "Should melt the lard, if you overcook it loses its scent!”.

I decide to ride in the woods of Mount Campanito, I join a cheerful group of Catania, Guests at Baglio, and Sabine is our guide. She takes care of horse trips, but also with excursions on the ridge of the Nebrodis, the ascent to Maroncello (the forest of Sperlinga), of off roading and those in areas equipped.

The nature that seemed off in the bulrushes, lights of streams and lakes as we go. It, if we are careful observers, discover wild lilies, crocuses, daffodils poets, and snowdrops.

The evening will be working regenerated. In the kitchen with Luigi (but also with Giovanna and Gianluca) mess, we help and respect local products. Low-waste (the skins of the beans are a treat for horses!). The restaurant at Baglio prepare traditional country dishes such as "piciotta": Nicosiana a polenta made from flour of ancient grains and legumes local, topped with borage and with chunks of pork. You will bring home cooking as the Lamb baked, and the "macaroni home" with wild boar sauce (or with pork or rabbit), but also dishes Nicosiani revisited in a more modern and light.

In this virtual trip there are still many details. There is no description of the intimate private suite: a small apartment block between the trees, and position overview.

Insufficient, more, shades of sunset, the spectacular passages of migratory birds that nest on the lake Pergusa. But above all the details that are missing the heart of each one may suggest to the eye: missing your look.

One thing you will certainly find, because if the hospitality house somewhere, This lies at the Baglio San Pietro.

The Baglio San Pietro is located in:
Contrada San Pietro – 94014 Nicosia (IN) Italy
Tel. +39 0935.640529 – Fax. +39 0935.640651
+39 3358767396 – +39 3335375881
http://www.bagliosanpietro.com/

The path will charm. Just follow the shadows of the trees on the hill, up to the ridge cut in stone…

Posted in Places and flavors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Salsa Verde Teeth of the Duke of Pirajno

For the series "ennoble leftovers" ... Meet the queen of green sauces.
Rather, the only salsa verde!

This recipe has been part, at least until the '60s, of the cultural-culinary that every girl of "good family" had to have. Before '68, in fact, the "family traditions" and the "traditions housewives" were passed as a value. The youth revolution swept through the family as an institution, questioning its values ​​as they were until then been handed down, but, inevitably, I also swept the customs, the intimacy of the spirit, and the knowledge handed down.
My mother, which is part of the ultimate girls that the family would send "a cooking school", preparing a green sauce exceptional: the most delicious I have ever tasted before knowing that this will carry.

The Duke Alberto Denti di Pirajno, gastronome from the Sicilian origins, authentic “man of the world ", Italian ambassador to the educated palate, and a great admirer of good food, back (not The gastronome educated, We, 1950) I tried this sauce (and I dosed) per voi.


The sauce can be enjoyed with the green slices of swordfish, capon, boiled, you can use it to dip crudités or to serve the lobster. But above all, the fact that they fit so well with any dish, makes her the "magic wand" useful to transform any surplus in a gourmet meal. I've married to the remains of a "chicken in a pan with rosemary" the night before. Look at the pictures (of course you can not taste it) and tell me ...

Salsa Verde.
Ingredients:

1\2 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of capers
2-3 anchovies
2-3 olive (I used the black for the more intense flavor)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoon pine nuts (I substituted with blanched almonds: pine nuts I had not!)
2 yolks firm
1 private slice of bread crust
1 glass of vinegar
1\2 glass of extra virgin olive oil

Cook the eggs and let them cool. In a small bowl pour the vinegar and crumble the bread because s'impregni. Peel the eggs to get the egg yolks and set aside.
Take a mortar and put into: fresh garlic (Private bud), pitted olives, anchovies, drained, the capers, drained, pine nuts and began to pound with timely gesture but decided, from top to bottom.


In the middle of work to add the parsley, then, slow, oil along with the soft squeeze and egg yolks. Continue until you have a creamy and full-bodied. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Posted in Recipes, Super easy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

"Orange juice" Modica (for the drop in sugar)

One morning several years ago, a visiting friend was presented with a small parcel gilt. The friend, his eyes sparkled with anticipation, I anticipated that he discovered that in a small bar in the Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Palermo, only twice a month, came a van load of typical sweets directly from Modica. "You will know certainly, this cake!"I said while unwrapping curious. And I, But ... I do not know him at all!
"I've never seen in my life."

After you cut off the sticky and sweet honey (with friend, obviously), I kept asking myself why my grandmother, that never failed to prepare for any party, saint or feast sweet tradition or the menu that befitted, did not know that sweet so strange. All the more so by having a citrus grove all our, oranges are now ubiquitous ingredient in the family kitchen (you will have noticed you too ;- )

So one Sunday, while helping to prepare lunch for the family, I told her of this cake. The grandmother did not answer immediately, continued to prepare to face low, concentrated on his movements, then he said: "Of course I know. It is made with orange peel, honey, Night, almonds ... Liked so much to his grandfather ". She never spoke of his grandfather, he died soon and I've never known, the only phrase that I heard them say, sometimes it was "God, one gave me, and I am one myself n'agghiu pigghiàtu ", to reiterate a type of ancient bond: the marriage of a time, where fidelity dispensed with all.

I asked her why she had not better prepared, then she went on the last sentence: "Much like his grandfather, and when his grandfather died, I did not better prepared ". So do not ever asked her to prepare it, but I wanted to repeat as prepared.
The grandmother is gone d several years now, and this is the first time I prepare the orange Modica. It 'a sweet rustic and tasty, for those who love the authentic flavors and citrus.

"Orange juice" Modica:

7-8 oranges
1 tablespoon of honey
Sugar
1\2 cinnamon stick
Blanched almonds
Night

Peel the oranges, removing the skins into wedges. Collect the skins of oranges and put them in a pot with plenty of water and salt. Bring to the boil, cook until the skins float stop. Drain, let them cool and put them in a bowl of cold water for at least 48 hours (Also for three days) changing the water twice daily.

Drain well, let it dry a bit ' (You can also pass 10 minutes in a hot oven), cut into large strips 1 cm and pesatele. Coarsely chop the almonds and walnuts and set aside, then take an amount of sugar equal to the weight of the oranges and place in a pan with high sides with honey and cinnamon, chopped with a knife, melt until a light caramel. Add orange peel and cook. Although the compound hardens, continue to stir over the fire until smooth and fluid back, add in the chopped nuts and end, taking the boiling mixture with a spoon, prepared the cookies on baking paper or in special molds. Let them be almost cold before sformarle (if the temperature permits, keep well out of the fridge).

The poor peeled oranges can keep in the refrigerator and, after a meal, eat them sliced ​​with a teaspoon of sugar and a splash of rum or maraschino.

Posted in Autumn / Winter, Small pastry, Sicilianitudine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments