If you are planning a trip to Italy, you are probably looking forward to enjoying your fair share of pasta dishes, bread, glasses of wine, and cups of espresso. What you might not have thought of, though, is that you’ll also have the opportunity to dine on all sorts of delicious fish. Because Italy is a Mediterranean country, fish and other seafood play a major role in the region’s overall diet. In this guide, you will discover some of the most delectable fish you are likely to see on menus throughout Italy.
Acciuga are Italian anchovies. These small, pungent fish can be served in a number of different ways. Various dishes call for them to be grilled, deep-fried, or even raw. During your visit to Italy, you are likely to see acciuga as a pizza topping, on their own as an appetizer, and chopped-up in dressings or sauces.
Anguilla is the Italian word for “eel.” Visitors to Italy are most likely to see eel chopped into pieces and served fried or roasted. You may have the opportunity to eat it as an appetizer, particularly in coastal areas.
Branzino, more commonly known as European seabass, is a true delight. It is generally grilled or roasted and accompanied by potatoes. Experienced waiters in Italy have developed something of an art form out of cleaning and deboning branzino at diners’ tables, so make sure you request this service during your time in Italy.
Cernia is the Italian term for grouper. This fish is considered one of the most delicious varieties to consume and is, as a general rule, prepared in a fashion similar to branzino. Also like branzino, cernia is most often served as an entree.
Merluzzo refers to Atlantic cod. While cod are not locally fished in the Mediterranean, Italian people love eating this fish dried, like jerky. It is also used in certain Italian dishes, such as the popular Venetian appetizer known as baccalà mantecato, which consists of creamed cod spread on bread.
Pesce spada is the Italian term for swordfish. Most often, swordfish meat is grilled and served in steak form. Italians typically top it olive oil, herbs, and capers. Pesce spada is extremely flavorful, particularly when prepared by an experienced chef.
Tonno is Italian tuna. Italy’s bluefin tuna is considered a delicacy and sealed containers can be purchased as souvenirs. Throughout Italy, tonno is served on its own, in certain pasta dishes, and in salads. In some villages, like San Vito lo Capo in Sicily, tuna fishing is the preeminent industry.
If you are craving Italian fish, but can’t make it to Italy in the foreseeable future, visit Strega Waterfront in Boston’s Seaport for real Italian fare crafted from recipes that have been around for generations. We know you and your family will love our authentic menu and exceptional service! For a truly Italian experience, come see us before the Feast of the Seven Fishes, which traditionally takes place on Christmas Eve.