Three years after the publication of her admirable Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, Jenkins returns to southern Europe, this time mapping a narrower locale. The dishes she finds in the ""heel of Italy's boot"" display many variants from town to town and offer creative responses to the region's traditional poverty along with a tempting, homely reliance on basic ingredients. Meat is something of a rarity. Pasta is eggless. The vegetables and seafood at hand dominate, as does extra virgin olive oil, which shows up in a fair amount of deep frying. With admirable gusto, Jenkins demonstrates that limited circumstances need not disappoint an earthy appetite. The simple antipasto of Sauteed Black Olives with garlic and tomatoes in olive oil or the Roasted Pepper Rolls (filled with capers, pine nuts, raisins, anchovies and bread crumbs) would start a meal handsomely. Soups dense with healthful ingredients include Winter Vegetable Soup or Summer Minestrone. Pasta is dressed with Oven-Roasted Tomatoes or Mussels and Beans. Fava beans, a Puglia staple, shine in Dried Fava Beans with Bitter Greens. Oven-Roasted Fish with either Black Olives or Potatoes represent felicitous marriages of taste. A typical Puglia bread is richly yellow with semolina; Focaccia can be a double-crusted free-form pie filled with a mix of peppers or ricotta and mortadella. Olive oil even shows up in Sponge Cake with Pear Marmalade. Readers with a taste for robust fare will hear Puglia's siren call in this fine collection. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/02/1997 Release date: 06/01/1997 Genre: Nonfiction
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