Writing an article on the scacciata with tuma and anchovies is a must if your father was born and raised in Catania and can tell you the story of the queen of the Christmas holidays.
If you are from Catania, on December 24th you will surely bring at least one scacciata tuma and anchovies to the table. My grandparents are from Catania but live in Syracuse and have no intention of giving up tradition. That is why every year, they make the journey to Catania with great pleasure to take the loot: one scacciata for them and one for my family 😋
The Antica Friggitoria Stella
They have been going to the same fry shop for a lifetime. The Antica Friggitoria Stella is a family business. They have handed down the recipes of typical Catania products, which have not lost either quality or deliciousness, for five generations. One of the employees told my grandmother that seeing her coming means that Christmas has arrived, too 😊
When you enter this heavenly place, you go into ecstasy. The menu is so rich that cholesterol skyrockets only at the sight of all that delicacies. They sell arancini with meat sauce, honey rice crispelle, anchovy and ricotta crispelle, Sicilian pizza, iris with chocolate and white cream, Nutellini, ravioline with ricotta, and then them, the scacciate.
The origins of the scacciata
The scacciata was born in Catania at the end of the 17th century in the kitchens of peasants. It was first a simple dish based on bread dough, vegetables, and meat. In most cases, the filling consisted of leftovers from the day before. Then the potatoes became one of the ingredients, enriching an already tasty dish. The turning point came in 1763, when Moncada, prince of Paternò, wanted to offer scacciate to his guests during the Christmas celebrations. Since then, the scacciata has been considered the dish of the holidays.
You can stuff the Catania scacciata in many ways, but the traditional one is with tuma, anchovies, and black pepper. If you look for this scacciata in a period other than Christmas, however, you will have very little chance of finding it. And so, every year, on December 24th, my grandparents bring us the so desired scacciata tuma and anchovies, which is of indescribable deliciousness. Perhaps because, as G. E. Lessing said
The expectation of pleasure is itself pleasure
For Christmas Eve, however, the scacciate with cauliflower and fresh onion and those with potatoes and sausage are also very popular. But you can find all tastes, so you only have to go to Catania and be overwhelmed by the embarrassment of riches ?
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