JUST A DECADE ago, it wasn’t easy to publish a cookbook about Sicily. Back then, Italy was widely regarded overseas as consisting primarily of Tuscany, plus a few of the larger, more glamorous cities, such as Venice, Milan and Rome.

The recipes in this book are a blend of the three ancient Sicilian cuisines: cucina dei Monsù (French influenced), cibo di strada (street food), and cucina povera ('food of the poor'). Sicilian cooking combines the best aspects of Italian and North African cuisines and takes advantage of other food influences from its many conquerors.

A lot has changed in the decade since I published my first Sicilian cookbook. Sicilian food and culture is now considered a worthy subject for close study. There are plenty of native foods that are being rediscovered and people are increasingly rediscovering their roots.

I hope you really enjoy reading my book, which has become as much a part of me as Sicily.

This is an edited extract from The Sicily Cookbook by Cettina Vicenzino (DK, $34.99).

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