The book combines social and culinary history, personal memoir, anecdotes and folklore. It has 383 pages with 120 authentic Sicilian recipes for fish and its many accompaniments: special sauces and vegetable contorni (side dishes). My editor, Mary Trewby, has done a brilliant job ensuring that the book is logically structured and clearly laid out: first courses (in Sicily this means pasta), second-course dishes (mains), sauces, food for feasts and vegetables. Some of the contorni (side plates of vegetables) also double up antipasti.
The book also features a large selection of photographs of Sicily, especially of fish, fruit and vegetables in the markets of Palermo, Syracuse and Catania. These were mostly taken by my partner, Bob Evans. Some photos have been generously been given to me by friends, Angela (from Adelaide) and Barrie (from Philadelphia).
Like all true Italian cooking, Sicilian cuisine is intensely regional and where it is appropriate I have provided information about the origins of recipes. Recipes come embedded with bits of folklore, quotes from literature and personal reminiscence. There is important information about the sustainability of fish species relevant world wide, and there are a variety of fish that can be substituted in each recipe.And wouldn’t you know it – no sooner had I written that last paragraph, than the door bell rang – there was the courier with a box of books. Time to tear off the tape and open the covers.