U pani cunzatu, or seasoned bread, is the poorest meal among the most typical of Sicilian gastronomic culture. Also known as the “bread of disgrace”, in the absence of a rich dish, it was enriched with inexpensive and easily available smells and condiments. Only the lucky ones allowed themselves the luxury of rubbing a piece of sardine on the bread, to make it tastier. Over time, the recipe has evolved with the addition of increasingly sought-after ingredients. The process is simple and you can replicate it at home, just like it used to be.
Cut the loaf in half and carve the crumb with shallow cuts.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano and drizzle with plenty of oil. Then arrange a layer of tomato and cheese slices.
Spread over the chopped anchovy fillets and sprinkle a pinch of oregano. Reassemble the bread, pressing it lightly and put it in the oven for a few minutes before serving it hot.
The recipe can vary from place to place, for example the Aeolian version includes capers, basil leaves, garlic (optional), mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, dried tomatoes, giant green olives and white wine vinegar. In this variant the bread is used as a base and is heated for a few minutes in the oven before being seasoned.