One of the many delights of the Med, Sicily in this particular case, is the unpretentious yet delicious meals they serve.
The food is local, by which I mean the menu is shaped by geography, tradition and Sicily’s agriculture.
It’s highly familiar: Mediterranean/Italian/Sicilian dishes are known and copied far and wide.
Most of all, though, with plenty of fish and vegetables on the menus of the province of Trapani, my peculiar tastes are widely catered for.
So what exactly did we eat during our stay on the Med’s largest island?
The highlights were as follows:
La Casa del Cous Cous, San Vito lo Capo
A Sicilian friend recommended this restaurant.
She knew what she was talking about.
My seafood cous cous arrived on very pretty plates and was accompanied by a bevy of sauces, none of which was strictly necessary. Olive oil had been rubbed into the cous cous by hand, and the grains had been cooked to textural perfection. (When I prepare cous cous it tends towards mushiness, but I’m learning the error of my ways.)
The seafood, which included generous chunks of fish, formed a perfect marriage with the tasty cous cous.
A dish most definitely not to be missed.
La Cambusa, Castellammare del Golfo
Another great recommendation from our Sicilian friend.
We had a gloriously fresh octopus salad followed by the best seafood risotto I have ever eaten. The quality of the seafood made the dish, along with the flawless execution of the risotto. (Technically, risotto is a Northern Italian dish, which somewhat goes against the grain (pun fully intended) of what I said beforehand about the joys of local food).
Moving on: after the risotto we had a scrumptious plate of mussels.
This place was a TripAdvisor find.
Again, we feasted on a stunning array of seafood dishes.
To begin with, there was a tortino di alici, a small pie which had been skilfully constructed out of fillets of hairless anchovies (these formed the “crust”). The filling was a generous portion of creamy, delicately flavoured eggplant. I loved this fishy twist on the humble pie.
We also sampled the octopus salad which contained thin white strips of meat. We sampled, too, a fillet of tuna which had been cooked to perfection: coated in sesame seeds and seared on the outside while decadently sashimi-like on the inside.
Our vegetables were a caponata (bottom right in my photos above) a Sicilian specialty made with eggplant, celery, tomatoes, onions, olives and capers in a sweet and sour sauce. Another simple and successful dish.
But wait there’s more!
There were numerous sweet treats available too, but since I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, Sicilian cakes and desserts tended to fall under my personal food radar.
And don’t go thinking that Sicilian cuisine is only about fish and vegetables (and the above hinted at desserts). Meat, pasta, pizza, bread, etc. are more than commonplace. In fact, I suspect there is something to suit most palates on the magical and enchanting island of Sicily.