Hail to the queen!
Arancina is the queen of Palermo s rotisserie . It is a ball of rice coated in breadcrumbs, seasoned with saffron and other spices, stuffed with various fillings then deep fried . The most common are “Meat” (with meat sauce and peas) and “Butter” (béchamel sauce, ham and cheese). An old etymological dispute oppose the two variants of the name, the feminine (arancina) and the masculine (arancino, widespread in Eastern Sicily and the rest of Italy). We agree with the ethnographer Gaetano Basile who traces the origin of the name to the similarity of the delicacy with the orange and not with the orange tree.
History has it that ‘ arancina ‘ was born as a protective coating to preserve the rice during long military expeditions, transforming the balls of rice into small oranges. Today ‘ arancina ‘ is the most acclaimed of our street foods. It can be found anywhere, but those who love it know that the best ones are not to be found everywhere. Even in the city of Palermo you can find opposed groups of supporters, aggressive as those for’ pane ca meusa : bread and offlal ’. The celebration of Saint Lucia on the 13th of December every year is now the arancina day as everyone agrees.
(Foto ©Vincenzo Puglisi per Crocche.it)