which translates to ‘cooked onions’ and comes from the Italian for onions, cipolle (pronounced chi-polleh). In Umbria it’s a soup made with tomatoes while the Calabrian version is just onions cooked in olive oil and red pepper. They’re all part of what’s called cucina povere, the food of working people who’ve learned how to coax the most flavor from humble ingredients.
Sicilian cipollata, called cipuddata in the island’s dialect, is jammy with the sweet and sour agrodolce flavor brought from North Africa by the Moors. Often served alongside grilled fish or meat, especially the next day’s room temperature leftovers, it’s just as good heaped onto grilled bread or stirred into a bowl of pasta or beans.
Cook onions in 3 tablespoons of olive oil and pinch of salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until well-browned, about 25 minutes. Reduce the heat and add a tablespoon of water if the onions appear to be browning too quickly.
When the onions are very well browned, add 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Cook for 3-5 minutes, taste and add salt if needed. Store into the refrigerator for a week or so.
This bright, spicy green sauce comes from Yemen but makes everything from grilled cheese to lentils taste great.