Given Name: U pani ca meusa
Alias: Panino con la milza, Sicilian spleen sandwich
Place(s) of Origin: Sicily
Place Consumed: Antica Focacceria S. Francesco S.A.S., Palermo, Sicily
Common Features: Vastedda*, veal spleen and lungs, lard
Background: I had a short-list of foods to try on my brief trip to Sicily. Pani ca meusa incidentally was not included. (Un)fortunately, I’ve got a rather brusque palate, so much so that whenever I see something floating in a giant vat (check out photo #1 for reference), it must be ordered. Offal is not a typical priority for me either, but during my seminal days in Indonesia and China I probably went through every organ in the average barn animal anyway (courtesy of not knowing the respective languages at the time), so kudos to spontaneous decision making, full stomach or not.
Verdict: I neglected to mention that I thought my order was for focaccia, but it appears the cashier decided to haze me with this sandwich instead. I bet. The lemon served on the side got me through a few bites, but I couldn’t continue struggling with the onerous taste (there was a hint of iron, but to me it tasted like a balloon flavored with liver- picture it, live it). Allegedly you can get it served with grated caciocavallo or ricotta (also visible in the first photo), so I clearly screwed up. If you have a cholesterol issue, that is, if you crave things high in cholesterol, and if are really into unsung organ meats, pani ca meusa is a winner.
Recipe: U pani ca meusa
*(Sicilian) Vastedda– either the bread this sandwich is served on, or a type of sheep’s milk cheese