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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Akshay

Insalata Pantesca (Pantesca Salad, from the island of Pantelleria, Sicily)

Pantelleria, the ancient Cossyra or Cossura, is an Italian island and comune in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, 100 km southwest of Sicily and 60 km east of the Tunisian coast. On clear days Tunisia is visible from the island.

This warm salad comes from there, and consists of humble ingredients - boiled potatoes are mixed with simple ingredients typical of the cuisines of Sicily and Southern Italy: capers from the island Pantelleria, tomatoes from the small town Pachino, spring onions from Tropea, Sicilian black olives and extra virgin olive oil and, of course, Mediterranean herbs such as dried oregano, thyme or basil. The combination creates such a distinctive taste and makes this dish a symbol of Mediterranean cuisine.

As with all Italian dishes, for optimal results it is essential to find the best seasonal ingredients. Another important step is to let this salad rest in the refrigerator in order to allow the potatoes to absorb all the aromas.

The basic recipe is vegan, though you can also add optionally various kinds of cheese, or chopped boiled eggs, or (more traditionally) fish.

Ingredients (for 4 as a side)

  • 500g potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed

  • 250g cherry or datterino tomatoes

  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly

  • 2 tbsp capers

  • 3 tbsp black olives (I use dried black Sicilian olives but any kind will do)

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • Salt to taste


Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl. Cover and let rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

It tastes wonderful as it is, but you can optionally add cheeses or chopped hard boiled eggs.

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