Kleiman is chef/owner of several popular Los Angeles restaurants and coauthor, with Viana La Place, of three previous books on Italian food, including Cucina Rustica ( LJ 3/15/90) and Pasta Fresca ( LJ 11/15/88). Now she celebrates Italian fish cookery in all its glory, from lusty soups and stews to delicate risotti to simple, vibrant grilled and broiled dishes. There are lots of antipasti to choose from, along with a brief chapter on accompaniments and another full of mouth-watering sauces and condiments. A few of these recipes are more complicated than those in her earlier books, but most are quickly and simply prepared, and all are fresh and full of flavor. For most collections.
The recently publicized fact that certain fish species are rich in omega-3 fatty acid, a substance purported to help lower cholesterol, is only one reason to consider this cookbook for addition to your library's collection. Another is that Los Angeles restaurateur Kleiman is an extraordinarily inventive chef who believes good food isn't equated with hours of kitchen time. She prepares less experienced cooks by first explaining how to buy and clean fish. Then she offers gastronomic surprises in more than 200 recipes, including seafood caponata, Sicilian swordfish pie in sweet orange pastry, fish soup with couscous and chickpeas and raisins, and baked polenta lasagna with shrimp and scallops. Most include suggested substitutions if certain finned foods aren't readily available. But only a few ingredients might prove elusive in neighborhood supermarkets.