Silversmith’s Cheese

Caciu all’ Argintera

Franca Colonna Romano, one of the greatest experts on Sicilian cuisine, gave me her recipe for this delicious dish over lunch at Lentini when we were invited to sample the Notabartolo wines. Legend has it that the dish was created by a silversmith who fell on hard times and was thereafter unable to afford meat. So he created this dish, which enabled him to enjoy the smell of ‘meat’ cooking even though it was not meat he ate, but simply cheese! Franca’s recipe keeps the cheese soft and gooey - absolutely delicious. Serve with lots of crusty bread.


  • 1 lb (450 g) caciocavallo or mature Cheddar cheese
  • 2 fl oz (50 ml) olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • large pinch dried oregano
  • salt and pepper


Cut the cheese into ½ inch (1 cm) thick wedges or slices. Heat the oil and fry the garlic until soft. Transfer the oil and garlic to a heatproof dish and place it over a pan of boiling water. Lay the cheese in the dish and cover with a lid. Heat until the cheese has softened, turning it over after about 4 minutes.

Transfer the melting cheese to a saucepan and place over a medium to high heat. Sprinkle with the vinegar and heat quickly to evaporate the alcohol. Remove from the heat, transfer to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with oregano, salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper.