Pane con la milza or ‘u pani c’a meusa (bread with spleen) is a key Sicilian street food dish. Great for lunch or dinner, it is often served at buffets in miniature size.
The origin of this food seems to date back to the Middle Ages, when the Jews who lived in Palermo worked as butchers; and since their religious beliefs prevented them from making money from slaughtering animals, they were allowed to take the offal home as a reward. They therefore used to boil and flavour the spleen, the lung and the scannarozzato (the trachea) in the lard, which, together with cheese, served as filling for the sandwiches they sold to the locals. This tradition is still alive among the caciottari (cheese makers) of Palermo and many other food retailers.
In Palermo, ‘u pani c’a meusa is a must the night before the feast of the Immaculate Conception (7 December). It is also tradition to eat it on the morning of the feast, as a high-calorie breakfast.
Boil the spleen, lung offcuts and scannarozzato. Put them on a plate to cool and cut them into very thin strips.
In the meantime, cut the buns in half.
In a large pan, add the previously boiled the pieces of offal to the lard to flavour them, for around 5 minutes.
Next stuff your buns with all the fillings, letting the crumbs of the bun absorb the flavour of the cooking fat. Add a pinch of salt.
The meusari offer two versions of the sandwich: schietto (bachelor), which is a simple version that includes lemon juice, or maritatu (husband), which includes a finishing touch of fresh ricotta or caciocavallo cut into strips, or, if you want to indulge, both types of cheese.
Enjoy your meal!