Stigghiola di Vitello: Grilled Veal Intestines


Stigghiola di vitello, or grilled veal intestines, are certainly not a dish for everyone. However, it is a typical Sicilian street food, and in Palermo, there are several stands at every market that prepare grilled intestines.

Stigghiola di vitello
Stigghiola di vitello

The preparation of the dish is really simple and uncomplicated. Thoroughly cleaned veal intestines are skewered on a metal needle and grilled for several minutes. No spices are added, and they are not marinated in any sauce. Grilling takes about 10 minutes.

Stigghiola di vitello
Stigghiola di vitello

Veal intestines are quite voluminous and fatty, and in their raw state, the dish does not look very appetizing. Therefore, at Sicilian markets, it is more common to encounter a variant made from much smaller and more delicate grilled lamb intestines, which visually look different and are more tempting to taste.

Stigghiola di vitello on a plate
Stigghiola di vitello on a plate

After grilling, the stigghiola di vitello is removed from the metal needle and cut into approximately one-centimeter pieces. These are generously sprinkled with freshly squeezed lemon juice and salted. The pieces of veal intestines are traditionally eaten by hand, without any side dish. And how do grilled veal intestines taste? The fat on the intestines vaguely resembles fresh cracklings after grilling, the intestines remain a bit greasy, and their taste remotely reminded me of lightly fried liver. A great dish for curing a hangover.

Stand with grilled intestines
Stand with grilled intestines

In Italian, the people who prepare stigghiola are called “stigghiularu.” And it was one of the Palermo stigghiularu at the Ballarò historical market convinced me to taste the dish with his singing and lively conversation with several local Sicilians. A portion of grilled veal intestines cost 8 EUR, including a small beer.

If you want to try something very unconventional, Sicilian wine or beer has overwhelmed you, and you want to “cure” yourself with something, stigghiola di vitello might be the right choice.

Bon appetit!

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