Wandering around Sicily: a trip to Agrigento.
Not so famous as the cities of Palermo or Catania, Agrigento is one of the Sicilian capital cities, of the province of Agrigento indeed. This includes some of the most beautiful and worldwide appreciated isles, like Lampedusa, Lampione and Linosa, situated between Africa and Sicily and characterized by a crystal clear, blue sea.
As one of the leading cities of the ancient Magna Graecia (Great Greece), Agrigento is well-known for its Valley of the Temples, actually a ridge where some Greek temples stand out and that have been listed as a World Heritage site.
AGRIGENTO’S PRODUCTS AND CUISINE
Extending from the nearby coast and winding to the inner land over a strange shaped territory, the peculiarity of Agrigento is its creative cuisine, that takes its origin from its varied products.
The combination of the sea, valleys and hills allows this city to have fish like sardines, squid, sole, snapper; vegetables like artichokes, fava beans, eggplants, peas; cheeses like ricotta and the Vastedda della Valle del Belice, a stretched cheese made from sheep’s milk produced in the Belice Valley and labelled as a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product. Oranges of Ribera (PDO product), grape (PGI product, Protected Geographical Indication) and almonds are also high-quality fruit of this land.
These ingredients are combined to create some very tasty dishes, like the maccu di favi, that’s a creamy fava beans soup; pasta with artichokes, or pasta with fava beans and ricotta cheese; “fishballs” with sardines. And for meat lovers, a delicacy is the stigghiola, that’s grilled seasoned lamb’s or chicken’s bowels.
SQUID SOUP RECIPE
What we propose here today is a simple recipe from Siculiana Marina, a small town on the coast.
Here are the ingredients:
- 1 kg squids, cut into chunks;
- 400 gr potatoes, peeled and diced;
- 400 gr celery, sliced into small pieces;
- 4 small onions, peeled and chopped;
- 500 gr peas (fresh or frozen);
- 100 gr wild fennel;
- salt to taste.
In a pan sauté onions in olive oil. Now, sauté the squids, so that they absorb all the onion flavor. Add potato dices, celery, peas (in spring you can have them fresh), wild fennel and as much water as to cover all the ingredients. Salt it and simmer till the ingredients are cooked and the soup is creamy.
Add spaghetti, that necessarily have to be broken into pieces. Wait until spaghetti are cooked. Turn the stove off, pour a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and stir.
Here’s your easy, creamy, fish-flavored and healthy soup!