Sicilian Delicacies

The foods in this section are specialties like panelle, crocche’, vasteddi, arancine, caciu alla argintera, and other dishes and finger foods that are Sicilian delicacies and gourmet foods and served as appetizers in many restaurants and households. 

Panelli e Crocche'Vastedda

Also included is a recipe for pastetta, a batter used for frying vegetables, fish or cheese or to make special sweet fried specialties.

In my family, it was a rarity when appetizers were served before dinner. However, a lunch or a dinner made up only of various specialties and some appetizers was not so infrequent and was well accepted by everyone.





Il Festino, the celebration of Saint Rosalia, was celebrated in my family with this type of food. The Festino was three days long, and the most important was the last day when the feast was concluded with fireworks, located in barges near the shore in the gulf of Palermo and ignited with a brilliant display of lights and sounds. Our cousin Barbaro’s house had a terrace overlooking the sea, and from this terrace, we viewed the spectacular fireworks and celebrated the event with special foods.


Sicilian Delicacies


Arancine - Rice Balls

Panelle- Chick Pea Fritters

Crocche' Cazzilli- Potato Croquettes

Canazzu- Vegetable Casserole

Formaggio Fritto (Caciocavallo all' Argentiera)- Fried Cheese

Cuccia di Grano- Cooked Wheat of Saint Lucy

Babaluci - Snails

Crostini e Spitini Palermitana

Frittelle con Acciughe o Ricotta (Crispeddi)- Fritters Catania Style with Anchovies or Ricotta

Pastetta- Batter for Frying, including Angelo Spadaro’s Pastella

Beer Batter

Fior di Zucca- Squash Blossoms

Cheese Ball Soup


Vastedda- Introduction

Vastedda Palermitana


The specialties consisted of vasteddi, panelle, sfincione, rice balls prepared by zia Ciccinedda and the stighioli (milk feed lamb’s innards) prepared by cousin Pino DeRosalia, whose family was in the meat business. Also, an abundant quantity of babaluci, snails, were prepared and eaten by everybody. And very important to us children, my mother prepared sfingi, sweet fritters, to conclude the saint's festivities. From childhood, we were indoctrinated to respect and celebrate all holidays and were taught prayers, the skill to eat snails and how to appreciate simple chickpea fritters, like the panelli. 

SfincioneMy Mother's Sfingi


In recent times, many restaurants in the countryside have a prix fixe dinner at a set time, where everybody is served the same menu, made of many courses and local specialties including freshly made ricotta, homemade pasta and sausages prepared in the open kitchen in view of the patrons grilled eggplants and zucchini just harvested in the nearby field, fresh fish from the local waters and baked in a bed of fresh vegetables, a variety of contorni (side dishes) and cheeses accompanied by local wines. To complete this hearty meal, cassate, cannoli and other homemade desserts and limoncello, made with the lemons growing in their backyards, are served to the satisfied customers.  




Cassata di Gelato-Spumone

If you visit Sicily , I suggest you go to a friggitoria, a kind of a fast food establishment, and enjoy a lunch, usually standing up. Sample some of the food they make: the spiedino ca’ béciamela, a Sicilian kebab with béchamel, fritto misto, which includes artichokes fried in batter, croquettes made with milk and fried veal brain. Taste the gratto, which is a potato cake or the vrocculi a’ pastetta, fried cauliflower. If you visit a friggitoria or focacceria in Palermo, the vasteddi, panelle, crocche’ di patate, calamaru frittu and the maccarronello, small fish, fried to a crispy consistency, are just a few of the most common delicacies. More sophisticated places have table service, and their menus list tripe alla levitana, sardines a beccafico, fried eggplant and caponatina.
Boiled polpo can be sampled in Palermo at the famous open market called “Vucciria.” There, in rudimentary kiosks, polpo, or octopus, is boiled in front of you, and you can taste the sweetest, most delicious and tender polpo that cannot be found anywhere else.


Mussels CozzePolpo

  Sarde Beccafico



At Joe’s of Avenue U, the Focacceria Palermitana in  Brooklyn, we brought some of those culinary traditions into the  U.S.A. We adapted those specialties to the availability of the local supply and, most importantly, to the different taste preferences and trends of our customers without sacrificing the traditional taste and by still using quality ingredients.
We prepared a selection of specialty foods that appealed to the old-timer, to the Sicilian-American, to the occasional food adventurer and to the sophisticated gourmands. Our “Cucina Siciliana” was known further than the tri-state area, as the customers who moved away would visit us if they made a stopover in
 New York 
and, through recommendations, new customers came in every day.


We served our specialties with pride and offered not only a gastronomic experience but a fantastic journey to Sicily  and memories of days gone by. 


Rice Ball Special & panelli Special at Joe's of AvenueU