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Recipes from an Italian summer – book review

23 April 2010 by

Recipes from an Italian Summer Phaidon, £24.95
ISBN 978-0714856230

With the weather improving and summer seeming closer than ever, thoughts turn to lighter dishes that can conjure up memories of the Tuscan countryside or a Sicilian sea breeze.

Inspired by holiday reminiscence, Recipes from an Italian Summer brings together the flavours of Italy in a comprehensive collection of the country's cuisine. Many of the book's 380 recipes are from the regions most popular with holiday makers: Sicily, Sardinia, Campania, Tuscany and the mountains of northern Italy.

Seasonality is strong, with a food calendar to guide readers through the typical growing seasons and regional recipes reflecting local provenance.

Sicilian flavours featured include citrus fruits and north African influences, while Sardinian dishes make use of more seafood and Tuscan treats embrace borlotti beans, Swiss chard and salt cod.

Campania is represented with ingredients such as olives, tomatoes and goats cheese, while the food of the mountains makes use of fresh herbs, late summer mushrooms and freshwater fish.

This being Italian food, the recipes are simple; the focus instead is on the variety of fruit and vegetables available in the summer months and the fresh and pure combinations they can create.

They are organised in seven sections according to the different ways we eat in the summer, with ideas for picnics, salads, barbecues, light lunches and suppers, summer entertaining, desserts, and ice-cream and drinks.

We are treated to the traditional grilled sardines, pizza and pasta as well as more unusual combinations such as onion, trout and sorrel salad, pheasant with grapes and grilled veal cutlets with grapefruit.

A weighty tome, Recipes from an Italian Summer serves as a comprehensive collection of ideas and flavour combinations. Though its recipes may be simple, as a single source of summer dishes, the book provides a clear and complete guide to the use of fresh fruit and vegetables to create rich and varied dishes reminiscent of the diverse regions of Italy.

With the weather improving and summer seeming closer than ever, thoughts turn to lighter dishes that can conjure up memories of the Tuscan countryside or a Sicilian sea breeze.

Inspired by holiday reminiscence, Recipes from an Italian Summer brings together the flavours of Italy in a comprehensive collection of the country's cuisine. Many of the book's 380 recipes are from the regions most popular with holiday makers: Sicily, Sardinia, Campania, Tuscany and the mountains of northern Italy.

Seasonality is strong, with a food calendar to guide readers as to typical growing seasons and regional recipes reflecting local provenance.

Sicilian flavours featured include citrus fruits and north African influences, while Sardinian dishes makes use of more seafood and Tuscan treats embrace borlotti beans, Swiss chard and salt cod. Campania is represented with ingredients such as olives, tomatoes and goats cheese, while the food of the mountains makes use of fresh herbs, late summer mushrooms and freshwater fish.

This being Italian food the recipes are simple, the focus instead is on the variety of fruit and vegetables available in the summer months and the fresh and pure combinations they can create.

They are organised in seven sections according to the different ways we eat in the summer, with ideas for picnics, salads, barbecues, light lunches and suppers, summer entertaining, deserts, and ice-cream and drinks.

We are treated to the traditional grilled sardines, pizza and pasta as well as more unusual combinations such as onion, trout and sorrel salad, pheasant with grapes and grilled veal cutlets with grapefruit.

A weighty tome, Recipes from an Italian Summer serves as a comprehensive collection of ideas and flavour combinations. Though its recipes may be simple, as a single source of seasonal summer dishes the book will provide a clear and complete guide the use of fresh fruit and vegetables to create rich and varied dishes reminiscent of the diverse regions of Italy.

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