Ischia and its fare from land and sea
If you really want to get to know a people, you have to try their cooking, because this is how you truly enter into the spirit of a place. If you sit in an eatery on Ischia and look through the menu you will see the extent to which the cultures of the sea and land have merged over the course of its history.
Farmers and fishermen have occupied the same land for centuries, with the products of the countryside being bartered for the products of the sea so that sometimes fish and vegetables ended up in the same pan, as in the case of the mouthwatering pasta and beans with mussels.
What are Ischia’s most famous dishes?
First place definitely goes to coniglio all'ischitana (Ischia-style rabbit), a typical dish from the peasant tradition. Raised semi-wild in pits dug into the earth and fed only on grass, the rabbit is prepared in earthenware dishes and slow-cooked with garlic, lard, cherry tomatoes, wine and piperna, a herb from the thyme family that grows on Ischia. The excellent sauce from this dish is served with bucatini pasta. Coniglio all’ischitana is often accompanied by friarielli (broccoli raab), or fried potatoes and mixed vegetables.
Then we have aubergine parmigiana: a summer recipe, parmigiana is made with fried aubergines, cheese, mozzarella and tomato sauce. Spaghetti with clams and mussels is another typical dish from Ischia, along with goldenfried anchovies, stewed octopus, fish soup and stuffed squid.
The island has a great baking tradition: from the classic Margheritapizza baked in a wood oven, to escarole pie (a typical Christmas dish), fried courgette flowers, seaweed and whitebait in batter, casatiello (a traditional savoury Easter pie) and simple homemade bread, Ischia’s ovens are always hot and ready to turn out something good.