Sunday 6 February 2011

Sicilian Inspiration

Sicilia in Bocca by Franca Colanno Romano
the chicken
the inspiration
the raw
the cooked

On Saturday at the Ginger Pig in Greensmiths, they had their usual array of beautifully dressed meat - I had my eye on a fresh free range chicken. Coming in at a little over two pounds in weight a roast chicken is a pleasure and a delight, but for a small family maybe a little too much to cope with, even in several sittings. I asked Tom could he take the bird, cut it in half down the breast bone, and then beat each half until its bones were broken! Tom and Adam (the amiable and engaged butchers) were curious as to the source of inspiration for my request.

I had recently come across the recipe in a Sicilian cookery book that had graced the shelves of my parents' house since the early 1970s - Sicila in Bocca, literally Sicily in the Mouth by Franca Colonna Romano. This is a rare book for not only is it graced with authentic Sicilian recipes but it also comes with beautiful illustrations and an English translation.

Some time ago after searching for the book on line I had the fortune to be contacted by Colonna Romano's son who was amazed that someone in London would know of a book that was published in Palermo in 1974. He was also looking for spare copies to give to his own daughters as an heirloom of his mother's work.

So my inspiration was more about transforming a whole chicken into a manageable half. The chicken was rubbed down with olive oil and a dried herb mixture of rosemary, sage, parsley, salt and pepper, and then popped in the roasting tin with 4 cloves of garlic, 1 onion, a handful of lardons, a glass of white wine and some fresh rosemary and sage - cooked at 200C. Delicious and with leftovers for sandwiches and the other half in the freezer awaiting orders.


  1. Thank you so much, Im planning a party and looking for something Sicilian, my heritage, mothers side. And stumbled fortunately across your link and posted to our own Sicilian wall. And now we will all enjoy Franca Romana's cooking! Tutti a tavola, a mangiare,

  2. Hi Vince,

    That's a pleasure - have you seen the other postings - go to Sicily in Labels at the bottom of the page and that'll take you to the others.

    What's the name of your site?
    Best regards, Danielle