1. Pani ca' meusa
This iconic sandwich is Palermo’s pride. It is so very easy to tempt a Palermitan to have a spleen sandwich at whatever time of the day. They will though insist where to go to. Everybody has an opinion who makes the best ‘pane ca’ meusa’. The smell these stands emanate is, let’s say, typical. Boiled spleen and lung are cut up and fried in lard before transferring it on the sandwich. It is up to the street artist on how much lard he’ll add. You can choose between ‘single’ and ‘married’. A squeeze of lemon and some pepper represents he lonely heart club panino. The married version comes with grated cheese or ricotta.
2. Panino with horse meat
Catania is known for adoring horse meat. Among many other things of course. A recurring element – for street food in general, outspoken here – is the credo that the grubbier the stall, the better the food tastes. The meat is either beaten till tender or minced and made in meatballs. Indispensable is the salmoriglio (sal-moo-reeh-yo), a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and loads of oregano. While the horse meat sizzles away, it is brushed with this magic liquid. And they use the same salmoriglio to season the panino.
3. Panino panelle
A monument in the culinary landscape. So simple and yet so enormous. Rectangular slices of chickpea dough are fried on the spot and transferred in a sandwich. Some salt, a squeeze of lemon and you’re ready to go. You can find the itinerant carts selling panelle wherever people gather. The beach in the summer, when the school bell rings in winter, when there’s a manifestation: the ‘panellaro’ is there. An interesting variation are the so-called crocchè, potato croquettes.
4. Pane cunzato
With pane cunzato bread is the most important ingredient. The seasoning may vary but usually is limited to good olive oil, sliced tomato, anchovies and cheese. Leaving out an ingredient is tolerable, adding is rather risky and sincerely unnecessary. This is how close a sandwich will ever come to perfection.
5. Brioche con gelato
In Sicily there are three ways to have your ice cream. In a cup, on a cone or in a sandwich. Well, more than a sandwich it is a crustless brioche like bun. Have it filled with up to three kinds of ice cream. Two is more usual, one a trifle undecided. The real dilemma is whether to have it with whipped cream or not. In western Sicily brioche and granita is a culinary monument. They are though eaten apart. Spoon your way through lemon, coffee or almond granite, nibbling on your ‘briosce’.