Frittella Siciliana


QUICK! If you’re in the southern hemisphere get to the markets quickly before the spring ends and some crucial ingredients disappear. This dish is a classic Sicilian plate originating in the west of Sicily.  Late in the artichoke season throughout Italy, you will find fave beans being sold right next to artichokes, so it’s inevitable that they will find themselves in some recipes together. The further south you make your way in Italy you will see an increasing abundance of both artichokes and fave beans. The dish photographed above is from Trattoria Piccolo Napoli in Palermo A Slowfood listed restaurant specialising in seafood with a generous offering of vegetable antipasti and side dishes.

You may know fave beans as broad beans where you come from. Once they are removed from their pods they need to have their skins removed. (This is not absolutely essential and certainly wasn’t done in the past when every little morsel counted.) The easiest way to remove the skin from each bean is to toss them into boiling water for half a minute. Remove and refresh under cold water. You will notice the skin wrinkle and lift off the bean, which then can be easily removed with a knife or your fingers. You can also make this with dried fave beans which will need soaking overnight. It’s not the same as the fresh experience but the flavour is unmistakable. It’s also ok to use frozen peas but remember to halve the weight indicated in this recipe.

This is a dish which is only prepared in the right part of the season, late in Spring. The ingredients speak for themselves as there is not much else in the list of ingredients. The three main vegetables here have simple, earthy and distinctive flavours which bounce off each other.

This is another simple recipe to prepare and always a welcome side dish on any Spring Italian table.  Just follow this recipe.


6 large artichokes

1kg fave beans (in pods)

1kg green peas (in pods)

1 large onion

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 glass of white vinegar

extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon




Shell the peas and fave beans and set aside. (as mentioned earlier you can opt for the fave with or without skins)

Clean and prepare the artichokes.

Cut into wedges and soak in lemon water.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and set aside.

Finely chop the onion

In a large heavy pan, gently fry off the onion in some extra virgin oilve oil until it softens.

Drain and dry the artichokes of their lemon water and toss into the pan with the peas. (add the fave beans if you haven’t removed the skin)

Allow to fry for about 5 minutes and stir occasionally.

If you have removed the skin form the fave beans, add them now.

Toss on a moderate hear for a few minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add a small cup of water and cover with a lid for a further 5 minutes.

Most of the moisture will have evapourated by now.

Add the vinegar/sugar solution tot he pan with the vegetables and allow to reduce.

Toss well and remove.

It’s important that the fave beans do not disfigure too much. They should retain their shape. If you have left the skin on, they will hold their shape a lot better.

Serve up on a large dish and allow to cool.

This dish is allowed to cool or served warm as an antipasto or side dish.


The Artichoke Blog

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

6 Responses to “Frittella Siciliana”

  1. mikey says:

    Chiaramente ho provato quelli di Albenga. Sono famosissimi. Solo che non li ho mai provati li in zona di Albenga dove mi piacerebbe girare a cercare ricette tipici. Torneró per continuare questa ricerca. Grazie per i complimenti.

  2. Quanti carciofi!! Io li adoro…quelli di Albenga l’hai già provati ? Complimenti x il blog.

  3. mikey says:

    Grazie Mille. addesso e un po’ difficile seguire i carciofi perche’ sto facendo l’estate australiana. comunque continuo piano piano. Ciao e grazie.

  4. WOW!
    Io amo i carciofi, ma non avrei mai pensato di aprirne uno interamente dedicato!
    Ti seguo!

  5. mikey says:

    Thank you for your kind comments. If you are in Europe you will have to wait a little while til the fava beans are out but there are plenty of artichokes available now as you are aware.
    I had to write that recipe while fava beans could still be found at the end of the Australian Spring, which is where I find myself these days.
    Thanks again and I will definitely check out some of your sweets when I need a dessert recipe to impress.
    Ciao for now.

  6. What a delicious-sounding recipe! I love artichokes and fresh fava beans are simply awesome! I am only sad that I am unable to find fresh or frozen fava beans here (don’t like the canned ones…).
    Your blog is wonderful and an absolute reference for artichokes-lovers! Congratulations!

Leave a Reply