One of those chefs was Carmelo Chiaramonte, a Sicilian seafood expert and the author of A Tutto Tonna (Bibliotheca Culinaria, 2006), a fascinating Italian cookbook about the many species of tuna. "It's Lent, so we're eating even more fish than usual," he told me, rattling off a menu as we walked around the market streets: brodo quaresimale (a fish soup eaten on Ash Wednesday); sarde a beccafico (sweet-sour fried sardines stuffed with currants); spaghetti tossed with sea urchin, or with neonata (teeny just-born whitebait), or with slivers of bottarga (salt-cured tuna roe), to name just a few. Carmelo bought a handful of bright-red raw shrimp, just in from the Gulf of Catania, and led us to an outdoor table at a bar. He handed one to me, raw, and the shrimp's soft flesh melted on the tongue like sweet, salty butter. It was the most pristine and delicious seafood I've ever tasted.