cover image Bitter Honey: Recipes and Stories from Sardinia

Bitter Honey: Recipes and Stories from Sardinia

Letitia Clark. Hardie Grant, $40 (256p) ISBN 978-1-78488-277-8

British transplant Clark offers a wide-eyed look at Sardinia, an Italian island featuring a spectacular coast and a rural interior with an “almost biblical” landscape. Interstitial mini-essays describe some of the local products, such as sheep’s cheese (“sheep outnumber people three to one” on Sardinia) and bottarga, a “sort of fishy fruit gum” transformed into a spread with anchovies and tuna and grated over linguine with clams. In a chapter on vegetables, Clark covers every aspect of preparing and consuming artichokes, then provides recipes for preserving them in oil and braising them with olives. She states up-front that she is not aiming to adhere to tradition and readily mixes Sardinian classics with dishes from elsewhere: egg ravioli with pumpkin filling from the mainland sit side by side with Sardinia’s “iconic” malloredu and hedgehog-shaped culurgionis stuffed with potato and mint. In the seafood chapter, salmon—not a Mediterranean fish—appears along with the local dishes of baby octopus and cuttlefish. Likewise, for desserts Clark includes a recipe for seadas—Sardinia’s famed fried pastries with cheese and honey—as well as one for a liquored-up tiramisù from northern Italy. The recipe instructions are clear and chatty, with a generous number of variations and accompaniments suggested. Home cooks will delight in this charming, culinary look at this Italian island. (Apr.)