What to eat in Sardinia: seada
Just 3 ingredients to make your taste buds explode, can this be possible?
Yes, when it comes to seada!
If you don’t know what it is, I have bad news for you: you are missing out on a real treat.
The seada (sebada or sevada) is a typical Sardinian dessert, a closed pocket, made of semolina pasta, filled with fresh cheese, which is then fried and sprinkled with strawberry or chestnut honey.
It is a recipe that comes from an impoverished cuisine, with simple and easy-to-find ingredients: seada is born in areas of the island with a purely pastoral vocation such as Campidano, Barbagia and Logudoro. Could shepherds at the time have the luxury of eating a dessert?
Obviously not and originally the seada was not considered a dessert but the main course or a substantial single dish, which was served to men returning from transhumance: it is said that at the time they were mannas cantu su prattu, i.e. as large as the plate on which they were brought to the table and were not garnished with honey.
If everyone roughly agrees on the geographical origin, the name’s origin divides scholars.
One of the most accredited theories concerns the Spanish domination, it seems that seada derives from the word cebar (sebana in the past participle) which could be translated as nourish or feed.
According to another thesis, the name of this dessert derives from the Latin word sebum concerning the use of animal fat (seu in Sardinian) to cook seada.
The particularity of the seadas is the pasta they are made with: it is violata or violada pasta (similar to brisée), made with durum wheat semolina and lard or olive oil. Semolina, unlike the flour, has a different consistency and the colour is more amber.
Similar to shortcrust pastry, it is also used for the preparation of other dishes such as pistiddi, casadinas, pardalus and panada.
Seadas filling is made with pecorino cheese and after cooking it is perfectly stringy and is often flavoured with lemon zest.
Let’s move on to the important things, if you want to try your hand at preparing the seada you will need:
First, you need to arrange the flour on a wooden pastry board, then add the oil or lard cut into cubes, along with a pinch of salt. At this point, start kneading with your hands and gradually add the lukewarm water.
The result must be a smooth and compact dough, to be left to rest for about half an hour.
While the violada pasta is resting, you can prepare the filling and you will need:
The pecorino must be melted over moderate heat with a little water and the grated lemon, stirring constantly for 10 minutes.
When the cheese is ready, it must be spread on a cutting board and, after having allowed it to cool, we obtain discs of about 10 cm in diameter by 8 mm in height.
At this point you can work the pasta: by hand or with a machine, violada pasta must have a thickness of 3 mm.
The previously cut discs of cheese must be placed at a safe distance on the sheet and then covered with another piece of dough.
With the use of a pastry cutter with a diameter of about 10 cm, you can finally cut out the seadas: cooking must take place in abundant seed oil for a couple of minutes and after having removed them from the heat, proceed to garnish them with strawberry tree honey or chestnut.
Our advice is to eat them hot and combine them with sweet and aromatic white wines from the island such as Vermentino di Sardegna, Vernaccia di Oristano or Malvasia di Bosa.
And one more tip? Remember that seadas is the plural noun, so unless you are really hungry, just order one SEADA!
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