• Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Sicilian Recipes

Celebrating Sicily
By , CYJ Contributor
July 22, 2013

What was once classified as strictly mob territory is now anything but. Gorgeous vistas, vibrant cities, and spectacular food are the new defining characteristics of Sicily. Centrally located in the Mediterranean, this island escape features fresh fish, citrus, figs, and pistachios all made with an Italian twist. But Sicily’s influences come from all over: Africa, Greece, and Asia, making its cuisine distinctly eclectic. Here are Galavante’s Sicily-inspired recipes, so you can bring back a bit of Italia to your kitchen.

Saffron Arancini with Apricots and Pistachios


3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup Arborio rice or short-grain white rice
1 teaspoon saffron
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup toasted pistachios
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying
2 eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups breadcrumbs


Arancini are the most common street food in Sicily. Typically made with leftover risotto and stuffed with ragu and Parmesan, here’s our Galavante version.

Makes 10–12

Heat the broth in a medium saucepan and set aside. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. In a medium saucepan, sauté onions in olive oil until tender, 5–8 minutes. Add the garlic. Saute one more minute.

Add the rice and the saffron, stirring to let it toast slightly. Add the wine and apricots. Stir until liquid is absorbed. Then add 1 cup of the vegetable broth and cook until liquid is absorbed. Continue the process with remainder of the broth. Stir in the pistachios and season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely.

Mix the risotto, eggs, parmesan, and 1/2 cup breadcrumbs in a mixing bowl. Place the remainder of the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish or plate. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Form the mixture into 2-inch balls, roll in the breadcrumbs, and fry in the oil until golden brown. Season with salt and serve hot.


Branzino with Preserved Lemons and Lemon-Roasted Potatoes


2 (1 lb) branzino, heads on, gutted, finned, and scaled
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
6 slices preserved lemon
4 bay leaves
Flaked sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
4 tablespoons chopped parsley
Black pepper


1 lb fingerling potatoes
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons butter, melted
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 slices preserved lemon, chopped


Surrounded by water, seafood is abundant in Sicily. Refresh yourself with this easy and impressive citrusy whole fish.

Serves 4

Preheat oven to 425˚F. In the opening on the underside of each fish (where fishmonger has gutted), stuff each fish with 5 thyme sprigs, 3 lemon slices, and 2 bay leaves.

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lay fish side by side on the sheet. Drizzle the oil and wine over fish and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 25 minutes or until flesh is white, somewhat opaque, and flakes easily. Sprinkle parsley and black pepper over the fish.

Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in salted water until soft, about 5 minutes. Drain and let cool, then slice in half and toss with lemon juice. Let sit 15 minutes. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Toss potatoes with olive oil, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper and spread onto sheet trey.  Roast in the 425˚Foven for 15–20 minutes. Take them out, move them around with a spatula, and then roast another 15 minutes, or until crispy. Toss with zest and preserved lemon bits.

Red Wine and Fig Granita


4 tablespoons sugar
1 cup red wine
1 cup purple figs, chopped plus more for topping
fresh mint, chopped


Granita is enjoyed all over Sicily. We tap into the Mediterranean mentality by making this one with figs and wine. Use any red wine for this recipe, but make sure it’s good. It will determine the taste of your frozen treat – and you’ll be drinking the rest of it.

Serves 4

In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer the wine and sugar together until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a blender with the figs and blend until the figs are broken up. Freeze in a plastic container for at least 4 hours. Scrape out of container and serve with fresh mint and a few fresh figs on top.

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