Despite a slowish beginning of complex sentences, depressing descriptions of environmental travesties, and dour political mutterings, we do move on eventually into the plot, convoluted though it is. I’m still not quite sure who all did what to whom and why. Somehow you don’t feel too sorry for the various corpses.
But you have to love his conflicted main character, Inspector Salvo Montalbano. He tries to do the right thing, despite the moral climate and political expediency, is known as a just man “who when he wanted to get to the bottom of something, he did.” And, of course he does, intervening under cover to protect the innocent.
Probably for a truly Italian meal it would be served on its own, as a separate course. However, the current trend of stacking things, works well in this case, with the polenta serving as a sturdy, honest foundation to the vegetables in their brothy olive oil, and topped by the lemon shrimps, which Salvo mentions eating on page 97. Apparently Adelina had left him a large dish of boiled shrimps, tossed with lemon and olive oil. Though I did serve the courses for us to arrange as we liked. Bob kept his separate.
I had never previously boiled shrimp, usually just doing a quick stir fry or broil. Always good to try new methods. I brought a large pot of water to boil with a bay leaf, lemon with juice and shells, some fresh oregano and pepper, tossed in the whole shrimps (large ones from Kauai) for 3 minutes.
After they cooled down, I peeled and de-veined them, then tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, some basil and slivers of preserved lemon. The polenta was just simple polenta, with butter and a few tablespoons of Parmesan added.
I absolutely loved every bite of this meal. Just delicious. Separate or together, as you like. Visit the Cook the Books Club Round-up at the end of the month to see what everyone created, or as it's not too late, read the book and do your own.
Luckily there was enough left, perfect tossed with angel hair pasta, for my lunch next day, out on the deck, truly scrumptious.