I have seen many places in the world but there is one which is so close to my idea of perfection, that I wouldn't mind to visit over, and over, and over: Sicilia. Now, I come from the most beautiful city in the world (Roma), and this opinion of mine will never change no matter what, but Roma can be a stressful city, does not have a decent beach, is too big and too busy, full of tourists and... well, it is definitely worth a holiday if you haven't been lucky enough to be born there, but not THE holiday.
But Sicilia. As I always say to foreigners, and for this I expect some kind of reward from the Sicilian tourism board at some point, it has everything. The most beautiful beaches, the amazing historical cities, the dust (I will come back to this concept later on), incredible food (incredible and different from what an average tourist expects from Italy), and importantly no americans doing wine tasting in every other vineyard.
Now, dust. After seeing a few places in the world, I did a shortlist of the desirable features a place has to have to be my place, and I did it by checking for overlaps in my top ten of the best places. Turns out that one of the key characteristics is the dust. I love dusty neighbourhood, I love those facades showing the signs of time, I love the clothes hanging out of the windows, I love wooden chairs with old people monitoring the street. I loved the Alfama in Lisbon, I loved Hanoi in Vietnam, I loved Tel Aviv, I love Ortigia, Marzamemi, Ragusa, Palermo in Sicily. I enjoyed Tokyo, I enjoyed Canada and Australia, but somehow they were missing something to climb my personal top ten.
And as I already mentioned, food wise they are just great. Forget the pizza. Pasta with fish, a lot of almonds, and pistachios, a lot of fresh herbs, but also deep-fried street food, aubergines in every shape and fashion (and I am the queen of aubergines, you know), there is even a couscous festival! And then him, her majesty the Cannolo. I will never forget my very first morning in Catania, after sleeping in a b&b strategically placed around the corner from the cannolo place in Catania (according to my research, Pasticceria Savia), my flatmate and I giving our very first bite to the cannolo and looking at each other, happy to be on holiday, happy to be together, happy to be eating a piece of happiness. And this went on for the whole 5 days and a half that we spent in Sicilia (not enough, I know).
So you can perhaps understand that the fish I made the other day, compared to the one eaten in situ, is just a way of alleviating the withdrawal effect that Sicilia induces. So that's why the title: if you do not want to become addicted, do not visit Sicilia! (and yeah - that's a silly trick to attract more page clicks)
SWORDFISH WITH PISTACHIO AND BREADCRUMBS
two slices of swordfish
a spoon of breadcrumbs
Toast the pistachios in a hot pan, then blend with breadcrumbs and mint; cover the swordfish with this mix on both sides, then pan fry the slices in a couple of spoons of oil EVO for 30 seconds per side. Add a sip of white wine, wait another few seconds and enjoy hot.