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A Restaurant Off the Beaten Path

June 2, 2012

La Madia, in Licata, which holds the appellative of one of the best restaurants on the island of Sicily.  Licata is off the beaten path and anyone who wishes to go to this restaurant will most likely travel a long distance.  So today, my friend, Rosa, drove us to Licata just to eat lunch at La Madia.  Apparently, we are not the only ones who drove a total of four hours to eat this unique lunch, but we learned while talking to the staff at the restaurant that 95% of their customers come from afar.  The Chef of La Madia is Pino Cuttaia, who after working for twenty years in the Piedmont Region in the north of Italy has returned to his hometown of Licata.  Cuttaia’s cuisine is famous for his choice  of creating original interpretations of fundamental ingredients of the Sicilian culinary tradition.  His dishes are truly a form of art!

This blog entry will not go into detail, but will briefly describe the dishes seen in the pictures below.

Fresh anchovies congealed in a sea water based gelatin with a light mayo along the edges create this sea water mosaic

As many people know, mozzarella and tomato have formed Caprese salad, but here the ingredients are combined in a totally new creation.  This buffalo milk mozzarella from Battipaglia is stuffed with a tomato soaked bread and then the cold tomato sauce is added along its perimeter.  Biting into this mozzarella one finds the inside a foamy, light texture which simply melts in one’s mouth.

The picture above is a calamari tower with zucchini, sea urchins roe, lentils and almonds

One of my favorites is below, Octopus on a Rock.  The  rock was created my making a merengue of the foamy water in which the octopus was cooked! Ingredients included lentels, mussels and capers.  As the chef mentioned in one of our conversations, his dishes are also inspired my his memories. 

Home made spaghetti with shrimp

Exceptional!!!!!!!!  Cuttlefish in an egg shell!  Cuttlefish is minced and then cooked inside an egg shell and takes on the shape of an egg; here it is placed on sepia, the black sauce cooked from the liquid contained in the cuttlefish’s sac and decorated with stripes of mayo

Scent of almond charcoal to complement the seared tuna

Granita with mini brioche

Above is Black Forest cake and below an original espresso cup with cover

What can I say?  This is true art form in the kitchen.  The dishes are elaborate but simple.  The taste buds discern each ingredient  but the result is a harmonious ensemble of flavors!


From → Food in Sicily

  1. I eagerly await all your blog posts—always a highlight of my day.


  2. Pamela De Leon permalink

    Yummy! I think my favorite would be the octopus. It all looks scrumptious.


    • Dearest Pamela,

      As my friend stated, this was a gift we gave ourselves.

      On another note, I read your blog yesterday and am looking forward to reading your next book very much.

      In the nineties, through University of Maryland Overseas Division, and as part of my B.A. in English, I took four courses on Expatriate Writers, one in Avignon, one in Paris, one in Rome and one in Venice. Edith Wharton was one of the writers whom I enjoyed!


  3. Pamela De Leon permalink

    A fabulous gift you all enjoyed and deserved! I can’t wait to someday visit “your island.” I am done with my part of writing the book, thank god. I am afraid I was overcooking it:) Now it is entirely in the hands of an editor and I await her wonderful work. In the meantime, I am enjoying traveling with my dear friend rosanna!


  4. Pamela De Leon permalink

    Also, the expats were soooooo interesting! Edith led quite the life in Europe…Idon’t blame her one bit for leaving America behind, with its stuffy norms.


    • Pamela,

      Traveling feeds the spirit and opens our eyes to so many different realities which DO change who we are. I travel alone, most of the time, but my blog allows me to share my experiences and know I am not alone.


  5. Thanks for photos and descriptions of the dishes served! Wow! The mozarella tomato dish sounds heavenly! A friend has just asked the South Carolina Comiss of Agriculture for the okay to begin raising water buffalo on John’s ISland so that he can produce the cheese! His goat cheese is sold only to 5-star restaurants in Charleston now!


    • Dottie,

      That sounds wonderful! I’d love to visit that location on one of my trips to SC.
      Great to hear from you! See you at Thanksgiving!


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