the food of the eolian islands and sicily

Eolo is Italian for Aeolus, the son of
Zeus, custodian of the four winds,
and in Homer's
Odyssey, the ruler
of the island of Aeolia.

Named for  Aeolus, the Eolian,  or
Aeolian Islands, are located off the
northeastern coast of Sicily in the
Tyrrhenian Sea. The seven
individual islands that make up the
archipelago are Alicudi, Filicudi,
Lipari, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli
and Vulcano.  The peaceful, yet
enigmatically volcanic archipelago is
an extraordinary place to visit, and
the combination of its beautiful
setting and slower, less harried way
of life, make them a worthwhile side
trip from the mainland.

A little over twenty years ago I had
one of the happiest days of my life
when my cousins from
Milazzo took
me to Lipari for the first time, where
we spent the day exploring the main
town, visiting  the archeological
museum, and  ancient ruins.
copyright © la cucina eoliana e siciliana 2000 - 201

special thanks to
adam butler

site  maintained by kenneth albert calascione
Perhaps the highlight of the day
was the delicious lunch we enjoyed
at Ristorante Filippino, where I had
my first taste of cucina eoliana.

Eolian cuisine subtly unites many
ingredients found in the wild, which
are used to enhance everything
from goat to grouper. The aromatic
finocchio selvatico (wild fennel),
mirto (myrtle), nepitella (calamint),
ruchetta selvatica (wild arugula)
dente di leone (dandelion), are
essential components in the
recipes of the islands. These,
along with the more familiar and
easily cultivated mint, oregano,
rosemary and basil, round out the
necessary list of herbs in the eolian

Capperi (capers) are omnipresent
in numerous eolian  recipes, and
their citrus-like piquancy heightens
many typical dishes

Pomodorini pennuli (cherry
tomatoes on the vine) are one of
the blessings of summer and add
color and a tangy sweetness to
salads and pasta.
Seafood is a staple in the eolian
diet and is either pan-fried, grilled,
poached or broiled, but rarely
embellished with more than a hint
of herbs, squeeze of lemon and a
swirl of olive oil.

Mollusks are another favorite of
the eolian table with
(squid) and
totano, its larger
cousin, either stewed in a
tomato-caper sauce or stuffed with
a mixture of breadcrumbs, olives,
capers, garlic and parsley.
(cuttlefish) are often stewed in
their own ink, and
polpo (octopus)
makes a mouth watering salad
when tossed with capers, lemon
juice, olive oil and parsley.

A perfect way to finish a meal is
with a simple dessert of fresh fruit
biscotti, complemented by a
glass of
malvasia (malmsey wine),
or homemade
limoncello (lemon


this week's featured recipes

maccheroni con sugo di salsicce
macaroni with sausage sauce

bistecche impanate
breaded steaks

fagiolini e peperoni
stringbeans and bell peppers

buon viaggio e buon appetito!