|Ingredients for making cazzilli and cooked Marlin potatoes
In Sicily, these are one of the common dishes of the cucina popolare — popular food or street food. The cazzilli are fried in vats of hot olive oil and sold in the streets, usually in the evenings; they are wrapped in a little grease proof paper. When cooking these at home, I use a non-stick fry pan and shallow fry them. They can be eaten as a contorno (side dish to accompany the main) or as an antipasto.
Recently, i ate cazzilli at Bar Idda. Sicilians have a fascination with body parts. Cazzo is slang for penis and the word is most often used as a swear word. Cazzilli are little penises.
Italians boil potatoes whole and unpeeled to prevent them from becoming soggy and then peel them once cool.
I made the cazzilli with a new potato on the market called Marlin potatoes. Interestingly some speculation about their name (Marlin potatoes) and machine guns.
There was a machine gun developed between 1891 and 1895. It was known as a “potato digger” for its peculiar down-swinging arm driven by a gas piston – it has a very powerful action and if fired over the ground it has the ability to lift clods of earth.
There are machine guns developed by the Marlin-Rockwell Company around 1918 called Marlin “potato digger” and several others developed by other companies after this. The name Marlin “potato digger” was retained.