Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey: The Mediterranean Flavors of Sardinia

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9780847829927: Sweet Myrtle and Bitter Honey: The Mediterranean Flavors of Sardinia
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Sardinia now rivals its northern neighbor Provence as a vacation destination. The coastline lures visitors, but it is the food that will make you linger. Chef Efisio Farris is poised to become the next great ambassador of Italian regional cuisine. To promote the cooking of his native Sardinia, he has appeared on the Food Network, given demonstrations at food festivals across the country, and even launched his own company that imports Sardinian specialties for his restaurants and for retail. It is Mediterranean cooking at its purest, making liberal use of olive oil, fish, and fresh vegetables. But it’s also distinguished by indigenous ingredients that are becoming hot trends in America: pecorino, flatbread, fava beans, fregula, and bottarga. Farris has pulled together more than one hundred recipes–many of them family secrets. Among them are Watermelon Salad with Arugula and Ricotta Salata; Pannacotta with Bitter Honey; and Bruschetta with Sausage and Pecorino Sardo. More than 150 breathtaking images take you on a tour of the countryside–from the terraced olive groves to the riverbanks full of wild asparagus. In sidebars, the author relates charming anecdotes and Sardinian history. Readers will come away not just with a taste for the island’s flavors but also a sense of Sardinia’s magical beauty and culture.

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About the Author:

Efisio Farris, a native Sardinian, is the chef-owner of two restaurants–Arcodoro in Houston and Arcodoro & Pomodoro in Dallas. He has garnered acclaim from Gourmet, Saveur, Food & Wine, Southern Living, USA Today, The New York Times, and Wine Spectator.

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Introduction History Matters From the moment you sit down at our table, the important thing is not how much we serve you but that we welcome you by serving the best of what we have. In my family that usually meant some pane carasau (Sardinian music bread), pecorino, sausage, and my father's olives or baby artichokes preserved in oil, perhaps then a plate of pasta or a dish from the "cucina rustica." It is also important that we serve some of what we have made or grown ourselves; Sardinian cuisine relies on fresh ingredients and straightforward preparations to preserve and enhance the flavor of those ingredients. The foundation is simple and rustic, uncomplicated yet hearty, deep in flavor and texture--not to mention tradition (many recipes have changed little over centuries and are tied to ancient customs and habits) and variety (only Sicily and Piedmont rival our agricultural production). Meat, cheese, and pasta are the most prominent staples of our diet. Though seafood is now very popular, most fish dishes, aside from a few, date back no more than a couple of centuries--young by Sardinian standards. Despite 1,800 kilometers of magnificent coastline--pure white sands, hidden coves and grottos, picturesque cliffs that soar above caves and rocks framed by the bluest sea and sky--Sardinia does not have an ancient seafaring tradition. We are known as a "nation of shepherds": more than one hundred thousand shepherds live in Sardinia, and sheep outnumber people on the island three to one. Moreover, our most populated regions and deepest cultural and culinary traditions tend to be inland.

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