“Pane cunzato” is one of the oldest recipes of the Sicilian gastronomic heritage. It is an ancient recipe that involves the use of simple and genuine foods to season hot bread. A poor recipe but that becomes very tasty because of the amount of ingredients that can be used to stuff the bread. “Pane cunzato” in fact means “seasoned bread”.
Pane cunzato was born from the need, during less fortunate times, to make the bread tastier. In fact, the ancient recipe was made up of three fundamental elements: hot bread, oil and salt. It was found on the poorest tables instead of more elaborate lunches or dinners. The cunzato bread also takes the name of “bread of disgrace” as it was often tried to make the now hard bread more pleasant and tasty to eat as well as softer .
In ancient times it was made with little one had at home, such as a few pieces of tomato or, in the luckiest cases, cheese. People used to make this sandwich when they had no money to be able to buy anything else. An indispensable ingredient was dried oregano, capable of giving a delicious fragrance and flower.
Currently, pane cunzato is established as one of the typical foods of the gastronomic heritage of various Sicilian cities, such as Palermo, Milazzo, Scopello and Vulcano. In these places it is possible to prepare cunzatu bread with the most genuine ingredients as well as buy it ready to taste in some local bakeries.
We can therefore say that this ancient recipe is completely current as well as the protagonist of Sicilian lunches or dinners. In different situations, such as a typical day the bread is prepared in the morning. In this way the ingredients release their flavors and the breadcrumbs are softened and flavored completely.
Anyone who comes on vacation in Sicily should try it because it is part of the Sicilian experience and it has nothing to envy the best – known typical dishes such as pasta alla norma or pasta with sardines.
The typical sicilian recipe of Pane Cunzato
The typical Sicilian recipe of the pane cunzato requires that the bread is cut in half so that it can be seasoned. To make the bread tasty, different ingredients are used. For the most typical version are used: anchovies, primosale cheese, fresh tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. This ingredients will give the bread a unique flavor.
For an optimal result it would be better to use freshly baked bread with a crunchy crust and soft crumb, but bread that is not completely fresh can also be used. The bread should be seasoned a few hours before consumption so that the crumb absorbs all the flavors and the loaf softens.
Since it is one of the most appreciated Sicilian street foods, it is possible to find different variation of it, wandering around Sicily. In a region regarded as a precious granary and devoted to the consumption of baked goods, there are many bakeries that prepare it every day to the delight of many tourist.
It is a particular popular sandwich in the province of Trapani , particularly Scopello, a small village in Castellammare del Golfo, a few kilometers from the Zingaro Nature Reserve, one of Sicily’s most popular destinations, especially in summer. Many tourists stop to buy pane cunzatu and then consume it on the beach.
In the Aeolian Islands, the classic recipe is transformed into a large loaf of bread, lightly toasted, split in half and filled with typical products of the Salina area: capers , “cucunci”, eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes.