Sicilian Food – Eat Like Montalbano

Hello, I am Umberto and I am a Sicilian chef in Somerset. I am passionate about good food (of course, I am an Italian!) and I work doing what I love. I am a proud ambassador food the food of my homeland – the island of Sicily. Sicilian Donkey – Sicilian Street Food is a mobile catering service that brings a taste of Sicily to the UK. I work at events and markets selling artisan Sicilian street foods from a gazebo.

Sicilian food has so much going for it. Firstly, the ingredients are out of this world. The volcanic soil and the long hot summer mean that we have an abundance of great fruit and vegetables. Then we have developed – by necessity – a food culture of cucina povera in which we take a few, simple ingredients and create mouthwatering dishes – usually love and time are the added component. Invasions by Greeks, Arabs, Normans, Phoenicians have all added to the food culture so we have Middle Eastern and African influences and use a lot of spices that you won’t find elsewhere in Italy.

So we have dishes such as Couscous alla Trapanese which uses couscous, usually thought to be African, with a fresh seafood stew and is delicious. Arancini are “little oranges” but the Sicilian arancino is a savoury speciality. We use risotto to make a ball and in the middle we stuff a beef ragu with cheese. The ball is breadcrumbed and deep-fried giving you a delicious, oozy, portable feast made famous by Inspector Montalbano.