All Mediterranean flavors are packed in this Sicilian salad from Pantelleria, in Italian, insalata pantesca. I find this a perfect treat on a super sunny and hot day like the one we are having today in Brussels – 30 degrees!! When I sit on the terrace and I close my eyes I can easily imagine myself on a Sicilian beach, sipping a cocktails, getting ready for partying…then yes, I open my eyes and reality kicks in, but food is always a nice way to prolong those feelings.
Like many other people I guess, I am big fan of ice creams, cakes and carbs in general, I have a sweet tooth and all, but I always try to well balance treats and lighter meals. In summer it’s so easy because I love salads and you can have so many different ones you can never get bored!
Insalata pantesca is a dish that can really transport you to the magical land of Pantelleria – where it gets its name too. Have you ever been there? I have been to Sicily many times being my mom from there, but I never got the chance to visit this super small island that has always fascinated me. Halfway between Trapani and Tunisia, this tiny island is called ” The black pearl of the Mediterrenean” and it’s composed mainly by black volcanic rock. It is also known to be the first place where the Arabs arrived when they invaded Sicily in the 8th century. So, in a nutshell, sea, rocky cliffs, gentle breeze, fresh fish. Ah yes, I am back dreaming!
To come back to our salad – ehm, ehm – you should know that the elements that originally used to compose it are all famous Mediterranean ingredients. Then us, poor people who live so far away from that magic land, we will do our best to recreate the same flavors with what we have, don’t we? So, if you don’t find capperi di Pantelleria, you can use normal capers. If pomodori Pachino are out of your reach, try with the best juicy cherry tomatoes you can find. Cipolla di Tropea is impossible to be spotted? Use the best sweet red onion you have on hand. Of course olive oil needs to be good quality, but that should be a must in your pantry 🙂 Potatoes, black olives and aromatic herbs complete the picture. Of course, in the South of Italy aromatic herbs are a must so be sure to get some basil and oregano. The combination of these different elements gives to this salad a very distinctive taste, making it a symbolic dish of this land. For this reason, even if you can’t find exactly the same original vegetables, try anyway to use the freshest you can!
And don’t forget to let it rest for at least an hour in the fridge (like the Panzanella) so the flavors can get mingled and give their best!
Are we ready to swim into Pantelleria?
Sicilian Salad from Pantelleria – Insalata Pantesca
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
10 -12 cherry tomatoes
1 red onion
1/2 half glass red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 handful capers
some fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Boil potatoes for around half an hour in abudant salty water. Once ready, drain them and let cool. Peel them and cut them in wedges.
In the meantime, peel and cut the onion in thin slices. Soak them for about 15 minutes in red wine vinegar.
Wash the capers under water to eliminate excess salt, wash and cut the tomatoes, pit the olives and cut them. In a small bowl, mix olive oil with oregano, you’ll need it to dress the salad.
Drain the onions and mix all ingredients together in a plate/bowl. Add a pinch of salt and the fresh basil leaves.
Leave in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Sicilian Salad from Pantelleria - Insalata Pantesca
The typical Sicilian salad from the island of Pantelleria, packed with the classic Mediterranean flavours!
- 4 potatoes
- 10 -12 cherry tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 1/2 half glass red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 handful capers
- 10/12 olives
- some fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- Step 1 Boil potatoes for around half an hour in abudant salty water.
- Step 2 Once ready, drain them and let cool.
- Step 3 Peel them and cut them in wedges.
- Step 4 In the meantime, peel and cut the onion in thin slices.
- Step 5 Soak onion for about 15 minutes in red wine vinegar.
- Step 6 Wash the capers under water to eliminate excess salt, wash and cut the tomatoes, pit the olives and cut them.
- Step 7 In a small bowl, mix olive oil with oregano, you’ll need it to dress the salad.
- Step 8 Drain the onions and mix all ingredients together in a plate/bowl.
- Step 9 Add a pinch of salt and the fresh basil leaves.
- Step 10 Leave in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.