Saints, Feast, Family
- Traditions passed down with Cooking, Crafting, & Caring -
(2nd Saturday in May in Sicily)
Saint of the day:
Saint Conon of Naso
Patron Saint of Naso, Sicily, Italy
The Story of St. Conon of Naso
St. Conon is a popular local saint in Sicily. He was born in the middle of the twelfth century and is credited with saving the town of Naso from famine. Conon (1139–1236) was a wealthy nobleman, the son of a Count, from Naso, Italy. He was a devout young man, and at the age of 15 become a monk. He lived as a hermit until being called to serve the local monastery as its abbot. Upon the death of his parents he distributed his inheritance to the poor.
St. Conon was a monk, most accounts say of the order of St. Basil of Caesarea. The most colorful tale of St. Conon tells the story of a miraculous vision he had while on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Conon traveled from Italy to Jerusalem. While in Jerusalem, Conon dreamed that a priest he knew back home in Sicily was being strangled by a snake. This disturbing nightmare apparently stuck with Conon.
Months later, upon his return home to Sicily, Conon told the priest about the dream. Feeling the pangs of a guilty conscience, the priest instantly confessed to Conon that he had been stealing funds from the Church and using the money for his own selfish desires. Under Conan's direction the priest gave his excessive savings to the poor and recommitted his life to serving others. After his death, Conon was hailed as a miracle worker.
In 1571, the city of Naso experienced a series of terrible storms which destroyed crops and disrupted the shipping trade, and the city ran out of grain and other food supplies. When the famine became severe, St. Conon appeared in a vision to a ship captain who was preparing to transport a load of grain. Conon told the captain to change course and take the grain to Naso. The captain obeyed the vision and arrived in Naso with food to relieve the famine by bringing a hold full of precious grain to the hungry villagers. The captain of the ship credited his rerouting to Naso to a miraculous vision of St. Conon, telling him to sail there. Thus, the people of Naso were saved.
St. Conon died on March 28, 1236, in Naso, Sicily, which has honored him as its patron since.
St. Conon of Naso, pilgrim and miracle-worker—pray for us!
Church of San Cono
Via S. Biagio, 6, 98074 Naso ME, Italy
The Crypt of Saint Conon
Ingredients for the dough
250 g re -milled durum wheat semolina
250 g 00 or 0 flour
1 medium potato about 150 grams
350 g of water
12 g fresh brewer 's yeast
12 g salt
2 tablespoons oil
Ingredients for the dressing
400 g cherry or datterini tomatoes
Oil extra virgin olive oil
Boil the potato, whole and unpeeled for about 45 minutes (or cook it in the microwave with a finger of water, after having pricked it with a fork and cooking it for about 15-20 minutes, turning it about every five minutes). Once cooked, peel it and pass it through a potato masher.
In a bowl, combine the two flours, the mashed potato and the brewer's yeast dissolved in the water. First mix, by hand or in a planetary mixer, then add the oil and salt.
Work until you have a smooth dough without lumps, adjusting with water: depending on the absorption of the flour you may need more or less than that generally indicated; however, you will need to obtain a very soft dough.
Then put the dough to rise in a bowl until doubled. It will take about an hour and a half or two, depending on the outside temperature (if you make the whole dose and use two trays, divide the dough at this stage and put it to rise in two separate bowls).
In the meantime, wash the tomatoes, cut them in half, and put them in a bowl together with a little salt, extra virgin olive oil and a little oregano. Turn well so that they flavor and release some of their water, which will serve as a condiment.
Once the dough has risen, grease the pan with oil and overturn the dough. Place the tomatoes on top with the cut side down and also distribute the sauce they released into the bowl in which you seasoned them. If you like, add a few olives, then sprinkle the focaccia with salt, add another round of extra virgin olive oil and let it rise in the pan for 20 or 30 minutes.
In the meantime, turn on the oven at 220 ° C, static. When the oven is hot, bake the focaccia on the lowest rack of the oven for about ten minutes, then move the pan to the central rack of the oven and cook again for 10 - 15 minutes, or in any case until the surface is golden brown. as well as the lower part.
Enjoy it alone or with cold cuts and cheeses to taste.
Note: In some areas of Puglia, it is customary to insert on the bottom of the pan, after having sprinkled it with oil and before putting the dough into it, some thinly cut onions.
~the potato will give the dough softness.
~Another fundamental characteristic of the focaccia is the addition of re-milled durum wheat semolina flour, that is, made very fine, in addition to soft wheat flour . Although the durum wheat semolina flour makes the dough harder during processing, magically, after cooking, the semolina will be the one that will give this focaccia an extra dose of softness which, combined with that of the potatoes, will make the ethereal and very soft dough. The high hydration dough, very soft, will complete the miracle.
~Cut the cherry tomatoes half an hour or an hour before using them, seasoning them with good oil, salt and a little oregano, during the waiting time they will release their water, which together with the oil will form an unbeatable condiment; sprinkling the surface of the focaccia with this tasty sauce you will get an extra taste acceleration.