Panelle, crocchè and pani ca meusa,
sounds familiar when talking about Palermo? Our beautiful city, rich in history and art, offers an alternative way to discover the culture and traditions of Palermo: food!
It was the Arabs, rulers of Sicily between the ninth and eleventh century, great gastronomic experts, to start grinding the seeds of chickpeas to obtain a flour that mixed with water and cooked over fire ended in a kind of raw dough …
In time, the “panellari” masters from Palermo began to fry the dough and the first “panella” of the modern era was invented! It was a very poor dish eaten by poor people done with poor ingredients but useful to overcome hunger. Over the years, social barrier fell in front of a fragrant moffoletta (the typical bread with sesame used to accompany the fritters) and everybody would enjoy this dish in the same way!
Want an advice? Eat the fritters with the “crocchè” or more commonly called “Cazzilli”(simple potato croquettes, without eggs and cheese). With panelle, crocchè, a pinch of salt and some freshly squeezed lemon, your sandwich becomes the traditional snack of Palermo!
A short walk from our accommodation, in Marina Square, you’ll find , Franco “u Vastiddaro”, that doesn’t simply delight tourists around the historic downtown, but also locals that often don’t know how to resist the temptations of gluttony!
“A vuoli schietta o maritata? “
Here’s the first question you will be asked when you are ready to order this delicious dish! The “pani ca miavusa” is a stuffed loaf of spleen simply sizzled in hot lard with a some freshly squeezed lemon. This version, without adding other condiments, is nicknamed “schitta” (meaning plain).
The “maritata” version, includes the addition of ricotta cheese or caciocavallo cheese flakes…This white veil of cheese is the allegory of the bridal veil ( “maritata” meaning married) . Today the “pani ca ‘meusa” is still prepared according to tradition: the central fork without teeth to crumble the slices of the spleen, an inclined pan, in which you’ll see the frying lard on the bottom and the innards on top.
I know you’re asking yourself where to eat a tasteful “pani ca meusa” in Palermo… well, I have the answer for you! The best is Rocky Basile. His family has being doing this for three generations and you’ll find his stand within the historic Vucciria market, not even 5 minutes walking distance from Bedda Mari!