"Tawla does Sicily" Dinner I
"Tawla does Sicily" Dinner I
Thursday August 17, 6:30pm | The Tawla Cellar
To celebrate the rich history of the intricate spice routes and their impact on the regional cuisines that make up Tawla’s menu, we are excited to debut our “Tawla does _________.” Dinner Series this August. We will explore the ingredients and preparation techniques whose history is rooted in the Eastern Mediterranean countries that inspire our menu - Greece, Turkey, the Levant, and Iran - but are now mainstays in cuisines across Europe, Africa, and beyond.
Tawla will highlight a specific region and dive into each region’s dishes and flavors through the Tawla lens. Known around the world as the symbol for community, dining, and coming together, the act of breaking bread will be key to each of these meals. As with Tawla’s house-made bread program, each dinner will revolve around a bread from that region in focus with Eastern Mediterranean roots.Every meal will be served in Tawla’s signature family-style format.
We will kick off the series with two dinners focusing on Sicily, where much of Italy’s regional cuisine traces its roots. Tawla’s Executive Chef, Joseph Magidow, is incredibly knowledgeable in the rich histories of ingredients and is excited to explore these flavors with you!
Bread and accompaniments
MAFALDA | sesame semolina bread
SCACCIA | rolled tomato cheese pie
Both these breads continue the Levantine tradition of stuffed, flavored, and diversely shaped breads. Sesame, tomato, and cheese are ubiquitous toppings and fillings throughout the Mediterranean.
AGLIATO | garlic, lemon, olive oil
The simple combination of garlic, oil, and lemon takes many forms and is a staple condiment across the Mediterranean basin.
CAPONATA | eggplant, tomato, olives, pine nuts, currants
Eggplant caponata, a type of sweet and sour relish or salad, is nearly identical to numerous recipes from the Eastern Mediterranean, where the sourness is furnished by pomegranate molasses and dried fruit.
HOUSE RICOTTA AL FORNO | fresh ricotta baked in fig leaves
Wrapping and cooking meats, vegetables, and cheeses in aromatic leaves is one of the most deeply rooted traditions in Arab cookery, and has clear parallels in the cuisine of Sicily.
WARM NDUJA | spreadable pork sausage, pickles
A spicy sausage from southern Italy, the name nduja likely comes from the French andouille by way of the Norman period of rule in Sicily, but the flavors and fatty texture closely resemble certain varieties of sujuk from Turkey, Armenia, and Greece.
N’ZALATA CU L’ACQUA | tuna conserva, green tomato
This “water salad” is based on a salted and pressed tuna packed in olive oil. This technique is identical to the lakerda of the Bosphorus Straits and various Greek islands, made from a type of bonito indigenous to that region.
HEIRLOOM TOMATO PANZANELLA | anchovy, capers, fresh wild oregano
Panzanella is a category of dish found in all bread eating cultures as a means to use yesterday’s loaves. In the Arab world, these are known as fatta, and range in appearance from salads to warm casseroles.
PISTACHIO ARANCINI | pecorino, mozzarella, caciocavallo, saffron
Both rice and deep frying arrived to Sicily from across the Mediterranean in the middle ages. Arancini, crispy dumplings made from yesterday’s cooked rice, are the ubiquitous Sicilian snack with the classic Levantine flavors of saffron and pistachio.
EGGPLANT INVOLTINI | pecorino fresco, saffron, turmeric
Eggplant, like many nightshades, was thought poisonous by most Europeans. It took the Arab love for the vegetable to convince them, and now stuffed eggplant is as much celebrated in Sicily as in the Eastern Mediterranean.
CALAMARI “LEBANESE LIFEGUARD STYLE” | maftoul, tomato, pine nuts, currants
Calamari “Sicilian lifeguard style” is a classic home-style dish based on cucusi, the Sicilian variant of North African-style couscous which is a staple of the island, and flavored with pine nuts and currants, a classic combination of Arab cuisine. Our version uses the larger hand-rolled maftoul in place of couscous.
SQUID INK MALTAGLIATA | octopus, sea urchin, bottarga
Bottarga is the salted roe of various different species of fish and comes from the Greek boutargo where it has likely been used for centuries. Maltagliata, “poorly cut,” is a rustic style of pasta you would most likely encounter in somebody’s home.
PASTA CON LE SARDE | fresh sardines, fennel
Dry pasta made from hard durum semolina flour is the iconic pantry item of southern Italy and would not have been possible without the introduction of this style of wheat from across the sea. This dish is one of the most celebrated and classic staples of Sicilian pasta, made with a combination of flavors that would as much at home on a Greek or Lebanese table.
SALT BAKED TROUT - grape leaves, fennel, meyer lemon
Whole stuffed fish demonstrate the love in both Sicily and the Eastern Mediterranean of the best local seafood prepared simply and presented for a crowd.
The experience wouldn't be complete without Wine Director Shaundon Castonguay pairing wines from our cellar that go perfectly with every bite!
Tickets are $96 per person (includes service and tax). Space is very limited.
** The menu may have some slight changes because our farmer friends and California may bring us some different things the day of the event!