My sister Rose lives in Sicily. We visited her this summer.
We usually spend our time in Sicily “In Famiglia.” We do a little sight seeing, reconnect with our extended family and relish Talking—Laughing—Cooking—Eating—-Together.
Everybody in my family enjoys cooking. My father made hearty, traditional fare: wine, homemade sausage and garden vegetables on the grill. My mother bakes bread and makes delicious soups and frittatas. My sister Nina is the sucu (tomato sauce) specialist. I like to experiment with sweets and pastries and love making everything from scratch.
We are all good cooks, but my sister Rose…she is the best.
Rose’s food is familiar to us; we make the same general recipes but her version is, somehow, tastier.
She uses the best ingredients, fresh fish, local olive oil and seasonal vegetables bought daily. But the quality of her cooking is not just about the raw materials. Her strength is her skill and touch with seasoning. Rose’s food is always perfectly seasoned. Not too much or too little salt, just the right amount. The herbs she uses are present but not overwhelming. The cheese is a perfect complement. She uses olive oil liberally but her food is not greasy.
When we visit Rose, we don’t cook. We set the table, grate the cheese, slice the bread and wash the fruit. When Rose is cooking, we keep her company and share the time. My mother, my sister and I sit on the side of the table facing the stove and refrigerator and watch as she quickly and efficiently criss-crosses her kitchen for the right pan, bowl, ingredient and seasoning, happily and effortlessly turning out the most delicious food.
We look forward to our traditional “first breakfast” when we visit Rose in Sicily. We get up, bleary eyed and jet lagged, sit at the table and wait while Rose makes an Ovu Frittu. A sunny side up egg accompanied by toasted crusty bread.
She makes one at a time uses a small frying pan. We wait our turn as our egg is cooked in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and served in the skillet where it was cooked. The egg is perfection! It stays hot, the yolk thick but still liquid, the white firm but not rubbery. We dip our toast in the yolk, soak up olive oil and thoroughly enjoy our Ovu Frittu lovingly made by my sister Rose.