La Cucina dei Monsu’. Involtini di Pesce Spada alla Siciliana.

Sicilian cooking is hailed throughout Italy as one of the best in our Bel Paese.

It evolved over 25 centuries of foreign occupation and influence. The secret of Sicilian excellent cuisine lies on the island’s climate, its fertile volcanic soil and history. Due to the warm weather, vegetables grow much better and are fresher and juicier, than other countries.


Arabs introduced many crops in the ninth century: onion, sugar cane, bitter orange, pasta. Other cultures have also played a very important role: the Greeks introduced the olive and the wine; the Romans made of Sicily the breadbasket of the Western Empire and Spanish rule improved the preparation of fish.


Eating in Sicily has never been just a question of keeping yourself alive, but an extraordinary experience of tastes and flavors as well. Centuries ago there used to be the so-called “baronial cuisine” or “Monsù” (from the French word Monsieur le Chef) and also ordinary everyday food.


The “Monsù” cooking served in the palazzos of the nobility would have included grouper, sole, hare, wild boar, and the meal would have ended with a vivid-co loured cassata.  Just try to remember the film Il Gattopardo:  Luchino Visconti’s 1963 masterpiece taken from the novel of the same name of famed Sicilian Author Tommaso Di Lampedusa. The famous dining scenes, that was the cucina dei Monsu’ in its full splendor,  at time when the influences of French, Saracen, Spaniard and African cuisine collided to create one of the first fusion cusines in the World: the Sicilian Cuisine, Here today is on of the classic recipes from this wonderful repertoire. One I fondly remember from my time spent in Palermo, city of my birth,  sitting at the tables of some of the high priestesses of Sicilian high Society.  No wonder even Prince Charles is an ardent fan of this style of cookery. Try the recipe shown below and enjoy.

Recommended Wine: Regaleali Bianco Tasca D’Almerita



5 thoughts on “La Cucina dei Monsu’. Involtini di Pesce Spada alla Siciliana.

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  4. Janette Walker

    Your article confirmed all I had thought about Sicily and more. We have just had a wonderful 24 days in Sicily ending with Palermo. We stayed at The Grand Hotel Villa Igiea, where they served a torte at breakfast, which was the most amazing cake. I did ask for the recipe however they were unwilling to provide it at the time.
    Now back in Australia, I would like to attempt to make the cake. I am hoping that you will be able to supply me with a recipe , for La Torta Monsu: the ingredients were flour sultanas red wine olive oil almonds pistachios and sugar.
    Thank you for the wonderful island of Sicily.


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