The Sicilian Gentleman's Cookbook

The Sicilian Gentleman's Cookbook

Paperback(Revised Edition)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781552096321
Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date: 03/02/2002
Edition description: Revised Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Author Don Baratta captures the voice of The Old Man. Don, who makes his home in Washington State, was born and grew up in the Bronx, in the midst of Sicilian neighborhood. As for the Old Man, nobody is sure where he was born — maybe Sicily, or possibly somewhere in New England.

Read an Excerpt

From the chapter on Vegetables and Stuffings - Verdure e Ripieni, sample recipes and an excerpt


Fried Cauliflower


Cavolfiore Fritto


You will need:


1 head cauliflower
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
vegetable oil (approximately 4 cups)


Preparation:

Lower cauliflower into a pot of salted, boiling water. Return water to a boil, then remove and drain the cauliflower. Separate into florets and set them aside.

Combine all other ingredients except the vegetable oil into a large bowl and beat vigorously until mixture is without lumps.

Heat vegetable oil to 375° in a deep pan or fryer. Dip each floret into the batter, then drop it into the oil. Do not overcrowd.

Fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown, turning pieces so they cook evenly. Serve hot.

Serves 5-6.

Cauliflower is a much-hated vegetable in this country, yet it need not be so. It is usually boiled and accompanied by small groans. A non-Italian guest once watched with interest the respect the Old Man paid this detested food. Her curiosity broke down her ancient reservations, and she tried a piece. The result was near-disbelief in the lively flavor. The Old Man flatly pointed out (indifferent to the insult he offered the poor girl's family), "If it had been prepared correctly, you would have always liked it!" So much for polite chatter. He remained unrepentant all his life.

You know, I have a theory about vegetables. Ialso have a theory about tools. I advise you to buy either the best or the cheapest. Trying to compromise with something that claims to be a little bit good and a little bit cheap will bring you to calamity. But the best you will take good care of; and the cheapest can be used once and then thrown away.

But this is not my theory about vegetables. With vegetables, I suggest you grow your own. I do not mean you should cultivate a farm for this would leave you little time to enjoy anything else. But you can grow that which you always use, such as plum tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and perhaps some eggplant. And don't forget about sweet basil.

The rest must be bought in a store, and you must make the best of this situation. You will have noticed how Italians spend a good deal of time searching among the produce, always seeking perfection. Some have been known to stand at attention and salute a particularly fine specimen. I know of a musically inclined young man who would sing an aria from Turandot at the sight of a ripe melon, but this demonstration of exuberance I feel to be misplaced. Artichokes, perhaps ... even an eggplant. But a melon?

My point, by the way, is that Italians have the extraordinary idea that fresh produce used immediately is half the battle. To date, no one has yet proven them wrong.




Fried Squash Blossoms


Fritto di Fiori du Zucca


If you grow squash of any kind, you are lucky in that you will be provided with the big, puffy, orange flowers that precede the fruit. They are quite wonderful when stuffed and fried. You will, of course, have to leave enough of them on the vine to guarantee getting the squash as well -- but that's no great problem.

You will need:


12 unopened squash blossoms
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, diced
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
all-purpose flour (for dredging)
2 eggs, well beaten
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

Gently wash each flower under running water. Pat dry and set aside. Mix cheeses and parsley together and flavor with salt and pepper.

Slit each flower along the side and push cheese filling into the flower. Dredge each flower in flour and then in beaten eggs.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and gently lower filled flowers into hot oil. Brown both sides quickly.

Serve hot. A wonderful thing!

Serves 4-6

Table of Contents

Attend!

Antipasto and Salads

Vegetables and Stuffings

Soups and Stews

Pasta and Sauces

Seafood

Poultry

Beef, Lamb and Pork

Pastry

The Song Ends

A Final Word About the Old Man
The Sicilian Gentleman on Wine
Epilogue
Glossary
Pasta Shapes
Conversion Tables
Index

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The Sicilian Gentleman's Cookbook 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Back in print after too many years is 'The Sicilian Gentleman's Cookbook,' which the author first self-published back in the 1980s. It's a winningly personal book, really an hommage to his late father, who was born in the little town of Mussomeli in central Sicily and who emigrated to the U.S. in 1905. 'The Old Man,' as Baratta refers to him, was a man of many and strong opinions; for example, he didn't consider most Italians on the mainland (which most Sicilians call 'la penisola'--the peninsula) to be Italians at all. As he put it, anything north of Palermo is Swiss.' The younger Baratta also minces no words, and often in these pages he and his father combine delightfully: 'Cauliflower is a much-hated vegetable in this country [the U.S.], yet it need not be so. It is usually boiled and accompanied by small groans. A non-Italian guest once watched with interest the respect my father paid this detested food. Her curiosity broke down her ancient reservations, and she tried a piece. The result was near-disbelief in the lively flavor. The Old Man flatly pointed out (indifferent to the insult he offered the poor girl's family), 'If it had been prepared correctly, you would have always liked it!' So much for polite chatter. He remained unrepentant all his life.' There's much more of the same in these pages, and plenty of recipes, too. Many are as unusual as they are delightful (Sicilian cooking is one of the richest and most varied cuisines in the Mediterranean basin). The pages are large, the type is clear, and there's only one recipe to a page. So whether you try the cauliflower recipes--or the cardoons or the meat and seafood dishes--you're in for a treat. Still, the best part of this book is the salty talk of two Sicilian gentlemen--the one who wrote it and the one who inspired it.