Vastedda Palermitana

 

 

In Palermo, the most famous and oldest place where vasteddi are sold is the Antica Focacceria San Francesco, located across the Church of San Francesco, in Via Alessandro Paternostro. 

 

                         

 

 

Vasteddi can also be sampled from street vendors located throughout the city.   

                              

 

In our family eatery, the “Focacceria Palermitana”, Joe’s of Avenue “U” in Brooklyn, the vastedda was one of the most sought-after delicacies.
We made vasteddi every day, but Saturday was the busiest day; a family member or one of the most trusted workers would be making the vasteddi that were sold as fast as they were made.
 

                               

 

The vastedda, also called pane ca’ meusa, is a roll stuffed with boiled spleen cooked in lard and served with a thick slice of lemon. 

The majority of people like the vastedda made with the spleen covered in ricotta, shavings of Caciocavallo cheese and baked until the cheese melt; this is called “guastella maritata,” “sandwich married.”

                                            Maritata

 

The guastedda schietta, the “sandwich single” or “unmarried,” consists of a roll stuffed with ricotta sautéed in the lard, covered with cheese and toasted until the cheese melts. 

The vastedda is well liked not only by natives of Palermo, but also by many Sicilians, by people from other parts of Italy and their children and by daring gourmets, some of whom were regular customers of our “Focacceria.” 

 

Serves 6 

  

INGREDIENTS  

·        6 soft rolls, sliced halfway across 

·        1 veal spleen, weighing about 2 lb 

·        ½ lb lard 

·        1 lb ricotta 

·        ¼ lb Caciocavallo or pecorino cheese, shredded coarse 

 

 Vastedda

 

 

PREPARATION 

A day ahead, boil the spleen for 45 minutes in an abundant amount of salted water.
Slice the spleen very thin, about 1/8 of an inch and set aside. 

Place the lard and 3 tablespoons of water in a skillet over low heat. 

When it starts to boil, add the spleen and fry it in the lard for a few minutes. 

           

 

 

Using a slotted spoon, pick up some spleen, drip some lard from the meat and place it inside a roll. Pressing with the slotted spoon against the meat, drain as much lard as possible. Cover the meat with ricotta, sprinkle with some cheese and, when all the vasteddi are made, bake at 350 degrees for a few minutes, until cheese and ricotta combine and bread is lightly toasted. 

The vastedda, or pane ca’ meusa, is a delicacy enjoyed in Palermo and by Palermitani all over the world. 

 

At our Focacceria in Brooklyn, the vasteddi were consumed by a large clientele: by gourmets and by some of our most courageous customers not necessarily of Sicilian ancestry. 

 

The slices of boiled veal spleen, fried in lard, stuffed in a soft roll and covered with Caciocavallo cheese, may not sound sensational, but when the smell of cheese and the flavor of the spleen blend into your mouth, a delicious and addictive sensation fulfills all your senses and you will be converted into a vastedda aficionado.