Menu inspired by our trip to Sicily - 10/14/2017

Tonight I am having our friends over for dinner so I can re-create and share all the dishes we ate in Sicily.

   Sicilians love seafood and seasonal produce and it is reflected in the way they shop.  Everyday, people will go to their local market to buy fresh caught fish, seafood, and locally grown vegetables.

We travel from many regions is Sicily and each region has its own specialty, but expect to find a variety of pastas and dishes teeming with sardines, tuna, anchovies and prawns that are accented with capers, olives, herbs, pine nuts, pistachios, raisins and garlic. Eggplant, tomatoes, cheeses, mushrooms and Sicilian citrus are also popular ingredients.  The most iconic pasta dish is pasta alla Norma, which is a Sicilian-Style Pasta with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Ricotta Salata which will be on the menu tonight.


The menu I created for tonight!


When I think of Sicily what I see is bright yellow sun flowers, olive oil, and fresh lemons and all the ingredients are reflected in my centerpiece,

Simple tablescape as I need room to serve all the dishes(family style).


More of view of the table.


Phuc/Huyen brought two jars of Kaluga caviar for appetizers.  Phuc/Huyen has a Russian patient that told them that in Russia people usually eat with bread and good butter.

So with that in mind, I bought some Acme bread, Maily was able to get some good Russian butter so we can try it out. 

The way we used to caviar is with blinis or crackers but we are all looking forward to try it with bread and butter.

  I told Phuc that we probably will only one jar but then I realized that the first jar was emptied about 15 minutes so we used both jar which is about 7oz in total of caviar.

This is usually how we eat caviar with: smoked salmon, Crème fraiche, Blini, chopped boiled eggs, chopped red onion, and a squeeze of lemon

We tried it both ways: with blini and with baguette, and I think everyone preferred to eat caviar with butter and baguette.


Champagne are poured to paired with the caviar.


I cannot believe with finished two jars of caviar for 12 people!



We are now sitting down for dinner!  The food is served family style.

Grilled octopus with sautéed spinach.  I bought 3 octopus to make this dish.

We had this dish every night for dinner in Sicily.  Each restaurant served it a bit differently but you can taste the freshness in every single dish they served.


Assorted grilled vegetables (yellow squash, eggplant, red and white onion, asparagus, and red and yellow bell peppers) drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

This is typical anti pasto dish in Italy and Sicily.


Grilled stripped bass with anchovies sauce

Every night we choose a fresh caught fish and our waiter just take it in the kitchen and grilled it for us! They will bring it back to our table drizzled in olive oil, mint, parsley and it was simply delicious!

Squid ink risotto with sautéed shrimps and squids.

We were told that octopus/squids are in season and this is the best time to eat squid ink pasta/risotto. 


Pasta all norma is a tasty and colurful dish from Sicily

Pasta all Norma was so called in honor of Vincenzo Bellini's opera "Norma".  The story says that in the 19th century, Nino Martroglio, a Sicilian writer, poet, and theater director, was so impressed when he first tasted this dish that he compared it to "Norma", Bellini's masterpiece.  And so the name stuck ever since!


Pork chop a la Milanese served with fresh tomatoes salad and tomatoes sauce with basil.


Champagne and wine we drank during the evening.



Home made apple and quince tarts.  The quince (tart filling) I used for the tarts are from our garden.


I requested that Maily to make panna cotta with strawberries.


Fruits platter from Hanh


Overall I am happy with how the meal turned out and I am glad I was able to give my friends a glimpse at the food we ate in Sicily!

Filed under: Dinner Parties




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