the food of the eolian islands and sicily

Eolo is Italian for Aeolus, the son of
Zeus, custodian of the four winds, and
in Homer's
Odyssey, the ruler of the
island of Aeolia.

Named for  Aeolus, the Eolian,  or
Aeolian Islands, are located off the
northeastern coast of Sicily in the
Tyrrhenian Sea. The seven individual
islands that make up the archipelago
are Alicudi, Filicudi, Lipari, Panarea,
Salina, Stromboli and Vulcano.  The
peaceful, yet enigmatically volcanic
archipelago is an extraordinary place to
visit, and the combination of its
beautiful setting and slower, less
harried way of life, make them a
worthwhile side trip from the mainland.

A little over twenty years ago I had one
of the happiest days of my life when my
cousins from
Milazzo took me to Lipari
for the first time, where we spent the
day exploring the main town, visiting  
the archeological museum, and  ancient
copyright © la cucina eoliana e siciliana 2000 - 2012

special thanks to
adam butler

site  maintained by kenneth albert calascione
Perhaps the highlight of the day was
the delicious lunch we enjoyed at
Ristorante Filippino, where I had my
first taste of cucina eoliana.

Eolian cuisine subtly unites many
ingredients found in the wild, which are
used to enhance everything from goat
to grouper. The aromatic
(wild fennel), mirto (myrtle),
nepitella (calamint), ruchetta selvatica
(wild arugula) and
dente di leone
(dandelion), are essential components
in the recipes of the islands. These,
along with the more familiar and easily
cultivated mint, oregano, rosemary
and basil, round out the necessary list
of herbs in the eolian pantry.

Capperi (capers) are omnipresent in
numerous eolian  recipes, and their
citrus-like piquancy heightens many
typical dishes

Pomodorini pennuli (cherry tomatoes
on the vine) are one of the blessings of
summer and add color and a tangy
sweetness to salads and pasta.
Seafood is a staple in the eolian diet
and is either pan-fried, grilled,
poached or broiled, but rarely
embellished with more than a hint of
herbs, squeeze of lemon and a swirl of
olive oil.

Mollusks are another favorite of the
eolian table with
calamari (squid) and
totano, its larger cousin, either stewed
in a tomato-caper sauce or stuffed
with a mixture of breadcrumbs, olives,
capers, garlic and parsley.
(cuttlefish) are often stewed in their
own ink, and
polpo (octopus) makes a
mouth watering salad when tossed
with capers, lemon juice, olive oil and

A perfect way to finish a meal is with a
simple dessert of fresh fruit or
complemented by a glass of
(malmsey wine), or homemade
limoncello (lemon liqueur).


this week's featured recipes

maccheroni con sugo di salsicce
macaroni with sausage sauce

bistecche impanate
breaded steaks

fagiolini e peperoni
stringbeans and bell peppers

buon viaggio e buon appetito!
Colette Calascione Exhibition
Nancy Hoffman Gallery, NYC
March 15-April 21, 2012