Mamma rosa’s silverbeet

Italy’s islands hold great appeal for the culinary adventurer. Most have been invaded numerous times throughout history due to their strategic position or natural resources and with each invasion came new ingredients and cooking methods. Here’s a taste of Sicily

  • 45 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
  • Print


  • 1/4 cup golden sultanas
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large bunch of fleshy-stemmed silverbeet
  • 3 tablespoon plain flour
  • 1 medium size-6 free range egg, beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts
  • flaky sea salt
  • 1 hot dried chilli, crushed, or chilli flakes, to taste
  • olive oil, for frying
  • lemon wedges, to serve


  • 1
    Cover sultanas in boiling water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain, return to the bowl and pour vinegar over them. Whiz panko crumbs in a blender or food processor until fine, but don’t turn them to dust, and mix with parmesan and ½ tsp of the salt.
  • 2
    Trim silverbeet stems then wash. Using a sharp knife, cut off the thick parts of the stems and cut them into about 10cm lengths. Put flour in a clean plastic bag and add silverbeet stems (the stems need to be wet for the flour to stick). Toss until the stems are coated in flour. Brush stems with beaten egg and pass them through the parmesan crumbs. Put stems on a cake rack as they are prepared.
  • 3
    Chop leaves coarsely. Plunge into a pan of salted, gently boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and leave to drain. Wring out excess water then chop finely.
  • 4
    Heat a smidgen of extra virgin olive oil in a medium pan, add pine nuts and cook gently, stirring often, until golden. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain briefly on paper towels. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  • 5
    Wipe out pan and add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Set pan over a low heat and add chilli and sultanas. Sizzle for a minute then add chopped silverbeet leaves and remaining ¼ tsp salt. Toss gently and turn off the heat.
  • 6
    In a separate pan heat ½ cup olive oil over a medium heat. When the oil is nice and hot, add enough crumbed silverbeet stems to fill pan in one layer and fry until golden all over. Transfer to a cake rack and fry remaining stems.
  • 7
    Transfer cooked silverbeet leaves to a heated bowl and put bowl on a platter. Drizzle with remaining extra virgin olive oil and scatter with pine nuts. Surround with fried stems, sprinkling them with sea salt. Add a few lemon wedges and serve.

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