Last week-end I prepared this dish for a lovely dinner with great friends. It is one of those dishes that many people prefer to avoid because they find the colour of squid ink unappealing. I like the sharp shining black in my dish and love the taste. It was a little risky for a dinner party, but my friends enjoyed it too and the company was so nice that we simply did not care about "a black smile";)!
Time to look back again at recipes by great Sicilian old times chefs, I Monzu, and monsieur Luigi Maddi in particular, with his watermelon jelly, Gelatina di Popone alla Religiosa.
As I have already explained in a previous post, Maddi was born in Catania in 1860 and trained under the guidance of Casimiro Urna, who directed the kitchen of Prince Manganelli.
Time to talk about two other great Sicilian Monzu, Paolo Urna and Sebastiano Alicata.
Urna, the one in the picture, started working in a kitchen at the early age of 12 with his father Casimiro Urna, who was the personal chef of the Prince of Sperlinga and Manganelli. Later he worked at the Grand Hotel in Catania with chef Paolo Marsala and became chef when he was 20 years old and started to work at the Hotel Templi di Girgenti in Agrigento.
Posted on Friday 06th of March 2009 under Monzu Chefs
Today I want to pay respect to two other Sicilian great monzù, chef Giuseppe Fiorillo from Messina and chef Giuseppe Genchi from Palermo.
Fiorillo's father was a chef and served the Italian Royal Family when they visited Sicily after annexation. He had Giuseppe in 1853 and let him began his apprenticeship at the Hotel Victoria in Messina, before sending him to Paris at the age of 12 where he worked for the most famous hotels of the time: Hotel du Louvre, Grand Hotel, Maison Dorée, etc.
When approaching Sicilian cuisine, you often hear about the distinction between simple, traditional people recipes in contrast to the rich, aristocratic cuisine of the Monzu. This term is a corruption of the French word "monsieur" and indicates the chefs employed in the homes of Sicilian and Neapolitan aristocratic families at the beginning of the 18th century.