Corsican food, like the island itself, is wild, rugged, beautiful, and bold. It is the product of brave and creative people. Bold flavors of wild game, wild herbs, chestnuts, and carefully crafted cheese fit together perfectly like fine woodwork that doesn’t need any nails. Politically, the island was dominated by the Italians, the British, and finally the French while suffering nearly 300 years of raids by Muslim pirates from the Barbery states of North Africa.
Because of the turmoil brought by the sea, most Corsican lived in the hills and mountains. Their cuisine reflects this in an almost shocking lack of seafood, but an abundance of wild game. When Corsica was under the control of Tuscany and Genoa in the Middle Ages, landowners were forced to plant chestnut and olive trees, both ingredients that still feature prominently in the best Corsican recipes.
On the slopes of the Coriscan hills, there is a brushland called the maquis. The maquis is a tangle of shrubs, grass, and wild herbs. Goats, sheep, and wild boars roam through these hills. The wild herbs grown here are quintessential flavors that drift through the air of Corisca.
Here are the best Corsican recipes we recommend trying out for your next lunch or dinner meal. If you love French Mediterranean cuisine, you’ll love these recipe ideas!
This traditional Corsican Chicken dish has undergone something of a revolution in recent years. While traditionally Corsican grandmothers would have used cut-up whole chickens and slow-cooked this dish over the fire, Corsican chicken can easily be made by today’s busy foodie by simply using boneless cuts of chicken breast or thigh. Salty, crispy bacon and briny green olives combine with the meaty umami of mushrooms to make this a hearty and satisfying dish. Tomatoes and fresh basil, grown on the sides of the Corsican mountains add fresh brightness that lightens the buttery chicken and bacon. Finished with cognac or brandy, Corsican Chicken has a surprisingly complex flavor.
Corsican cuisine is not monolithic and variations of this dish abound from home to home. In Bastia on the northern part of the island, for example, many cooks add potatoes, making the dish a true one-pot wonder, a complete meal in one dish and easily one of the best Corsican recipes.
Civet de Sanglier / Wild Boar Ragu
Wild boar or sanglier, are still plentiful in the Corsican hills and mountains. Sometimes called Corsica’s signature dish, Civet de Sanglier, or Wild Boar Casserole in English is Corsica on a plate. Rich and strong as the hills themselves, this casserole pulses with bold flavors.
From the dark Corsican red wine to the spongey-earthy semi-sweetness of the slow-cooked chestnuts, this slow-cooked dish is sure to satisfy the biggest appetites.
The meat is marinated overnight in dark Corsican red wine and the same kinds of herbs the boar would have eaten as it ran wild in the maquis: thyme, bay leaf, and myrtle berries. The most traditional cooks still serve the dish with a blood and bitter chocolate sauce which adds an exquisite flavor dimension. Finally, this hearty stew is garnished with sautéed mushrooms and bacon.
Enjoy sanglier with good crusty French bread with cultured butter, and the biggest, boldest red wine you can get.
Cannelloni Brocciu / Corsican Cheese Lasagne
For the uninitiated, Cannelloni Brocciu looks and tastes like lasagna and enchiladas had a baby. They are rolled pasta sheets reminiscent of an enchilada but stuffed with a heartwarming mix of melted cheese and herbs, baked in a bechamel sauce, and then topped with a warm tomato sauce right before serving.
Named after the goats it comes from, brocciu (pronounced: brooch) cheese is a soft cheese that is usually only ripened for a couple of weeks to a month. The goats have a rich and flavorful diet packed with flowers and herbs. This diet combined with the careful method of production that has been preserved over the years, brocciu cheese is the only Corsican cheese to have earned the European Union’s AOC label for quality.
Brocciu is somewhat similar to ricotta cheese in that is smooth and creamy, but it is firmer and has a tangier taste than Ricotta.
Corsican Herb Tart
One of the distinctive features of the Corsican landscape is its grasslands known as the maquis. The maquis are home to a variety of wild herbs including mint and nepeta. A cousin of the catnip plant, nepeta has a lemony mint flavor. Nepeta gives the Corsican Herb Tart its unique Corsican flavor. Mint and nepeta are often combined with other Corsican mainstays such as thyme, marjoram, and parsley to make it.
The body of this savory tart comes from sauteed chard or spinach, leeks, and onions. To these ingredients, many cooks add brocciu or similar melting cheese. Adding pine nuts can really make this tart classy. Baked in a flaky, buttery crust and topped with a little zest of lemon, this delightful tart would make an excellent light dinner in early summer or late spring before the heat of the day is too strong.
Stuffed Corsican Peppers
Many of us may be used to a hearty stuffed pepper dish with rice and sausage. But in Corsica, the peppers are stuffed with herbs of the maquis and their incomparable brocciu cheese. The peppers used in Corsica are usually smaller than the bell peppers found in American grocery stores.
To make Stuffed Corsican Peppers, peppers are cut in half lengthwise and cleared of seeds and ribs. Brocciu cheese is mixed with herbs, usually basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then packed into the pepper halves and baked or broiled. This dish is an excellent side dish to serve with Corsican chicken. After having these stuffed peppers, you will never be satisfied with jalapeño poppers again.
“Corsica” Terrine with Chestnut
The classic Corsican terrine is of course made with chestnuts. Terrine refers to both the earthenware dish and the food cooked in the dish. In this case, it is primarily pork and chestnuts. Cooked low and slow with herbs wine and brandy and then allowed to chill until sets. From here the dish can be turned out and sliced like sandwich meat. If you’ll forgive the analogy, SPAM is a kind of terrine. Now that your mind has gone there, please come back to Corsica.
This terrine is rich and excellent in sandwiches, but the richness of the terrine is best balanced with sharp mustard and some tangy pickles. With a chilled glass of white wine, this Corsican recipe will be a crowd-pleaser for summer lunches.
While not technically terrines, there are some Corsican spreads or patés, available online that are also made with pork and chestnuts. These would make great additions to a pre-dinner appetizer spread on crackers or toast and cornichons.
The wild herbs of the Corsican maquis, rustling with the salty wind coming off the sea, give the island a unique aroma so memorable Napoleon is said to have dreamt of it during his campaigns. That breezy herbal scent is what the Corsican omelet tastes like.
Easily the simplest in this list of the best Corsican recipes, this omelet is all about the quality of the ingredients. Use only the best locally raised fresh eggs and fresh mint. Showing the Italian influence on Corsican cuisine, this omelet is made with olive oil rather than French butter.
To make it, scramble three eggs in a bowl with a fork and add salt and pepper to taste. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet, while you chop the mint leaves. Three mint leaves per egg is a good ratio. When the pan has heated up, pour in the eggs and add the chopped mint. Stir the eggs occasionally ensuring they don’t stick. While the top of the eggs is still very wet, put a plate large enough to cover the top of the pan over the pan and turn it upside down so the eggs fall onto the plate. Now slide the eggs back into the pan so the soft part the eggs is now on the surface of the pan. Cook for another 10 to 30 seconds and slide the omelet out onto a plate. It’s that simple.
The Corsican Frittata picks up where the omelet left off. The beautiful farm-fresh eggs, mint, and olive oil provide the base. What makes this dish a frittata is the addition of Corsican cheese.
Legend has it that there once was an ogre in the mountains of Corsica who was stealing sheep and goats. The shepherds trapped the ogre, but he begged for his life in exchange for teaching the shepherds the secret of brocciu cheese.
How anyone could still be an ogre after eating this cheese remains a mystery to this day! On the beautiful isle, any of these cheeses could be in a frittata. Serve it with some grilled bread, a light salad, and a cold white wine for a beautiful summertime dinner.
These olive oil-based biscuits are distant relatives of American shortbread cookies. Much like the omelette and frittata, the fat is olive oil which gives this biscuit its addictive flavor. Use a good fragrant, fruity olive oil. This is no place to skimp on the cheap stuff. The cookies are also usually made with white wine (don’t try red unless you want pink cookies) and brandy. For the wine, much like the olive oil, go with something fruity and dry of good quality. Save the rest of the wine to have with the frittata.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, olive oil, white wine and brandy together well then spread out evenly. Cut into squares of roughly the same size to ensure even baking. These tasty biscuits go great with coffee, tea or the rest of the wine… don’t judge me.
Corsican Minestra Soup
Corsicans are known as soup lovers. Soups have been one of the most quintessential diets in Corsica for generations. The Corsican Minestra Soup is also known as “Soupe Corse” or “Soupe Paysanne.” Over the years, variations of this soup were scattered over the European continent. It’s not offered in most restaurants, but this home-cooked soup tastes divine in most Corsican villages.
In making an authentic Corsican Minestra Soup, you would need dried cannellini beans, olive, russet potatoes, boneless pork shoulder, Swiss chard, medium leeks, carrots, green cabbage, garlic cloves, ham bone, and bouquet garni. You would also want to include chicken broth, kosher salt, black pepper, tomatoes, and water because it can amplify the appetizing taste of the soup.
Note that herbs play a vital role in cooking this soup. Marjoram, sorrel, and sage can be used, but some food experts do not recommend them. You would not need to worry about getting so much cholesterol because this soup is rich in winter vegetables that cannot make you feel heavy.
If you opt to have this during your lunch, it’s better to prepare one day ahead and serve it cold. The commendable preparation would be 2-3 days.
Corsican cuisine would be incomplete without Corsican Lasagne, also known as Cannelloni. This is commonly one of the best main courses in traditional Corsican restaurants.
One tip for making your Corsican lasagne is to use fresh lasagne sheets because it can make the dish quicker and a whole lot easier. The ingredients of this recipe include but are not limited to Swiss Chard, Eggs, Brocciu Cheese, mint leaves, olive oil, garlic cloves, and a sprig of fresh thyme.
This is best served with wines and other European liquors.
Corsican Veal and Olive Stew
In terms of stews, Corsican cuisine is one to talk about because they have one of the finest on their table. You can do this recipe easily with the right ingredients and tools.
If you wish to make your Corsican Veal and Olive Stew in the comfort of your home, you will need rose veal shoulder, flour, olive oil, streaky bacon lardons, onions, celery sticks, garlic, and celery sticks. It’s also much better to add carrots, white wine, chicken stock, lemon zest, bay leaves, thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs, and fresh tomatoes.
Make sure that you choose the appropriate herbs and wines because it’s paramount in this recipe. A Tuscan toast would be very befitting because it can kick off the divine taste of this recipe.
Good thing that it can be served right after 30 to 40 minutes.
Rougets à la Bonifacienne
Corsican cuisine will not deprive you of a healthy and protein-full dish, as Rougets à la Bonifacienne will surely satisfy you. This recipe can be done quicker if cooked with the correct fillets.
Making Rougets à la Bonifacienne means you would need the following: red mullet fillets, anchovies, garlic cloves, chopped tomatoes and parsley, breadcrumbs, and olive oil. Always remember to be careful in using some salt and pepper in this recipe because it will have a cascading effect on the dish if mishandled.
The tomato sauce is the key to the recipe’s overall taste. The best advantage of making it in your kitchen is you have total freedom on how you would like your sauce to taste. Some prefer a little bit of sourness in it.
Corsican-Style Stuffed Eggplant
Like any other cuisine in the world, Corsican cuisine favors an abundance of veggies. Corsican-Style Stuffed Eggplant is excellent proof of this. The recipe is also known as Aubergines à la Bonifacienne because this is a specialty from Bonifacio, a port town in the southern region of Corsica.
You would mainly need eggplants which should be boiled. Moreover, the ingredients include milk-soaked bread, eggs, fresh basil, and cheese.
You can find this delicious eggplant dish in most restaurants in the town of Corsica. However, it can also be home-cook since it’s a simple yet amazing recipe to do at home.
Corsican cuisine is also best at desserts. One of the best Corsican recipes is the Fiadone Cheesecake, which can be brought in most of Corsica’s local bakeries and restaurants.
In baking your Fiadone cheesecake, you would need five simple ingredients. It includes brocciu cheese, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and a small amount of Eau de Vie liqueur.
One fun trivia about this recipe is most Corsican women baked this cake to assure their eternal love for their husbands. So sweet.
Corsican Chestnut Cake
Corsican Chestnut Cake is one of the best Corsican recipes that are also perfect for at-home baking since you can bake it easily and quickly. The preparation would typically take 30-35 minutes.
It has the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fat, and roughage. The main ingredients for this recipe would be hazelnuts, lukewarm milk, chestnut flour, salt, and cinnamon.
A critical tip in baking this cake is always preheating the oven at 220C to set the temperature just right to sustain the needed baking.
Canistrelli Biscuits are great cookies perfect for your toddlers. As you savor it in your mouth, you will taste what heaves feel like due to its lemony flavor, soft and slightly crunchy.
This Corsican delicacy is very easy to make. Its main simple ingredients include eggs, all-purpose flour, cornstarch, sugar, butter, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Baked Canistrelli will last for weeks if stored at proper room temperature. You can also add some flavorings depending on how you like it.
Corsica holds the record for having some of the most prepossessing and jaw-dropping sceneries across the continent of Europe. The island is home to some of the most exquisite white-sand beaches swathe with alluring crystal blue waters. Most tourists in Europe know that it’s no fun traveling without stepping into Corsica.
The majestic island is also exemplary in cuisine, having some of the most mouthwatering and enticing dishes ever known. Whether you are a French foodie craving something deliciously different or an average Joe/Jane who is up for exotic European cuisine, these Corsican recipes are your answered prayer. The ambrosial cuisine of Corsica is shaped by the island’s colorful culture, location, and history. As some of the finest gourmets and culinary experts claim, the best Corsican recipes are worth the try and will indeed taste heavenly.
Below are some of the best Corsican recipes you are about to savor.