1. Gambero rosso di Mazara
This is so much more than simple fresh prawn. It gave name to the leading Italian food and wine magazine.
Fisher boats specialized in prawn fishing harbor in Mazara. Hence the name. They go fishing for long periods, up to one month. They freeze fresh prawn on board, Mistakingly people suppose it refers to where the shrimp is fished.
The Mazara prawn comes with a price. Imitation prawn mainly from Mozambique. And the only proof of authenticity is…the eating
Fresh swordfish is spectacular. In sight as well as in taste.
With no small bones, only a big backbone, it is loved by children and fuzzy eaters. The versatility in preparing makes it a product loved by cooks. The name ‘swordfish’ crowns it all. The mighty sword, the fierce reputation somehow gets transmitted in those who eat the fish.
Fresh swordfish is not easy to find. Frozen slices instead do the trick.
3. Fresh Tuna
Sicily has a long tradition in hunting and manufacturing them: during ‘mattanza’ a passing troup of tuna was diverted in nets and besieged by fisher boats. The blood gushing out the wounds caused by the harpoons coloured the water red. An image rarely found on tins. At the ‘tonnara’ chunks were either salted or boiled in plenty of salt water and conserved in oil.
Today most of the Sicilian tuna is exported. Mainly to Japan. Where people pay small fortunes for fresh tuna.
4. Fresh Sardines
Humblest of the Mediterranean fish. Probably also the most reckless one. It is caught in large quantities, daily. Fishmongers never fall short on sardines. The ready availability make it a popular fish.
The salted sardines flavor many local dishes. Today people rather use anchovy.
Since omega3 became an issue, sardines gathered credibility.
Simply roasted or in pasta, sardines never let you down in the kitchen.
5. Boops Boops
Spectacular name. ‘Boops boops, people, fresh boops’.
A fish with an extraordinary longevity. They can live up to 15 years. Spending their time in big shoal, on the sea floor.
Boobs boobs must be eaten fresh. The flesh tends to go off fast.
In Sicily ‘uopa’ (woo-pah) is a so-called poor fish. Meaning it is not expensive.
A dash a white wine, some salt. That’s all it takes to prepare it.