Sicilian Fun with Frappato, Grillo, Swordfish and Artichokes #ItalianFWT
A Virtual Return to Sicily
Our Italian Food Wine & Travel group has visited (virtually) Sicily a couple of times. This month, we’re returning with another open invitation to further explore Sicily from afar. I’m fascinated with everything related to Mount Etna, but there’s much more to explore than that one corner of this large island. This time I vowed to move my focus. My fellow bloggers are also posting on Sicily this month, so take a look toward the bottom of this post to link to their finds!
In my research, found that artichokes (Carciofi) are a classic Sicilian veggie choice. A favorite preparation is to simply add a bit of oil and salt and roast them in the coals of a fire. In Sicily, they have special pans for doing so, a bit like overgrown muffin tins. I had to improvise, but the results were great!
For a main dish, I looked to Sicily’s position in the Mediterranean – lots of access to blue (deep) water, so there are lots of big blue water fish, such as swordfish available in fish markets.
Red Wine for Blue Water Fish
Frappato di Vittoria (or just Frappato) is an Italian grape variety grown primarily in Sicily. I’ve tried Frappato a number of times with seafood, and I’ve always been happy with the results. The lighter body of the wine seems to go well with big ocean fish. Smaller fish in delicate preparations may to be too light for Frappato, but you’re safe with salmon, swordfish, tuna or other big blue water species.
Arianna Occhipinti is one of the rising stars of the new Sicily wine movement. Her vineyards and winery are located near the town of Vittoria, in the south of Sicily. She works organically in the vineyard and takes a natural approach of native yeasts, minimal intervention and minimal addition of sulfur. Arianna’s Frappato is an excellent example of what can be done with the grape.
Occhipinti Il Frappato IGT 2014 ($34 at Sunfish Cellars)
Eye: Clear, pale+ ruby with a purple edge.
Nose: Clean, evergreen/creosote in front with cranberries behind.
Mouth: Bone dry, medium body, medium acidity, medium+ tannins. cranberries in front, evergreen behind, nice long persistent finish.
Excellent with a big ocean fish like swordfish. Body was light enough but stood up to the meaty quality of the fish. While the Frappato was great with the fish, it wasn’t the best pairing with the artichokes, no big surprise there. The white wine was a better match.
Le Casematte winery is located in the northeastern corner of the island near Messina, just across from the toe of the boot of the Italian mainland. The winery is a new endeavor only since 2008, but has established itself with organic practices and a desire to produce wines appropriate for the Faro region.
Le Casematte “Peloro” Terre Siciliane Bianco IGT 2016 ($19 from Sunfish Cellars)
Eye: Clear, medium- intensity lemon yellow
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. White flowers, a bit of citrus and white peach.
Mouth: Dry, medium- body, medium+ acidity, nice cleansing acidity.
Very nice with seafood, although swordfish was perhaps a bit much. Better with scallops, shrimp, lighter fish. This wine was excellent with the charcoal roasted artichokes.
The swordfish skewer “recipe” is from Food & Wine magazine, pairing it with artichokes is my small addition. Ingredients Instructions
Swordfish Skewers and Roasted Artichokes
The swordfish skewer “recipe” is from Food & Wine magazine, pairing it with artichokes is my small addition.
Italian Food Wine & Travel Friends Share Sicily
The posts below will go live on Saturday, March 4th, 2017. Our group will get together for a live chat on Twitter 8-9am PST/11-12 EST that day to discuss Sicilian food, wine and travel. Join us using the #ItalianFWT hashtag on Saturday morning!
- Cam of Culinary Adventures With Camilla with be sharing Gnocchi Con Salsa di Pistacchi + Donnafugata Sherazade Rose 2014
- Jill of L’Occasion offers a Winemaker Rendezvous: Lucio Matricardi Ph.D. of Stemmari
- Susannah of Avvinare will be Discovering Tasca d’Almerita, A Sicilian Icon
- Jennifer of Vino Travels will be serving Sicilian Filet with Eggplant Caponata & Nero d’Avola
- David Crowley of Cooking Chat Food will be offering Pairings That Work With Sicilian Wine
- Jeff of FoodWineClick with be having Sicilian Fun with Frappato, Grillo, Swordfish and Artichokes
- Lauren of the Swirling Dervish – A Week-Night Dinner in Sicily
- Gwendolyn of the Wine Predator will be serving up Sicilian Wine and Food by Candlelight
- Martin of ENOFYLZ Wine Blog will be taking Two Tastes of Sicily’s Autochthonous Grape – Nerello Mascalese!
We hope to “see” you online Saturday, March 4th!