cover image Sicilia: A Love Letter to the Food of Sicily

Sicilia: A Love Letter to the Food of Sicily

Ben Tish. Bloomsbury Absolute, $35 (304p) ISBN 978-1-47298-275-9

After exploring the Moorish flavors of Mediterranean cooking in Moorish, British chef Tish zeroes in on the “simple, robust cuisine” of Sicily. He begins with an offering of breads that are nearly full meals in themselves—including, notably, a Sicilian lasagna bread, filled with cheese and cherry tomatoes, and a fig and fennel bread. A deep-fat fryer is the tool of choice for a chapter full of fritti—wherein sardines, squid, cauliflower, and asparagus all take a dip—while mouthwatering pasta dishes are prepared with a citric tang, an herbal kick, or both, as in the case of pork, orange, and mint ragù with fusilli. The contrast between coastal and inland dishes is made plain with seafood options such as mackerel crudo and grilled monkfish preceding a gamey meat chapter devoted to such fare as stuffed and braised lamb’s hearts, and sweet and sour rabbit. For dessert, Tish presents a medley of granitas, “perhaps Sicily’s greatest culinary gift.” Throughout, Tish weaves in brief tales of his own travels around the island, and the “hustle, bustle, [and] smoke” of its food markets. This is a delightfully delicious departure from the typical Italian cookbook. Agent: Martine Carter, Sauce Management. (Aug.)