Proust had his madeleines, I have my SFINCIONE PALERMITANO….
For most Roman Catholics, Lent is a time of repentance, of sacrifice; a period of 40 days where you’re forced to suffer…The tradition is to either give something up, like your favorite food/drink, or to contribute something good to others, like charity work. Aside from what we chose to sacrifice from our regular diet, or contribute to the community, we were not allowed to eat meat on Fridays.
Going into Lent every year, I knew that out of the six weeks before Easter there would be at least three Fridays in which the women of the family would get together to make homemade pizza. During the process of making the pizzas, I would enjoy sneaking a pinch of the salty raw dough into my mouth in between orders directed by Nonna. But, by far the highlight of the evening was my grandmother’s specialty: Sfincione Palermitano. With crisp homemade breadcrumbs absorbing into the flavorfully cooked San Marzano tomatoes and soft, sweet caramelized onions, supported by a crispy (yet tender) crust, each morsel was devoured in record time.
So while others would dread the approach of the repressive Lenten period, the thought of sfincione would send my tapping feet to the pavement!
In honor of Nonna, we will be keeping the tradition alive here at D’Angelo. From now until April the Sfincione Palermitano will be featured in the D’Angelo Old World Pizzeria, right here in Downtown Princeton.