The Puglia seacoast is the longest in Italy and every season offers assorted varieties of fish to the Pugliese cookery. Nearly every morning of the year, several fishing boats return to the Pugliese coast full of their valuable ‘treasure’, partly sold immediately in the port, partly dispatched to the many fish markets of Puglia.
The most spread and used fish in Pugliese cuisine are the species of ‘Pesce Azzurro’ (oily fish), among which there are anchovy (acciuga or alice), tuna (tonno), sardine (sardina), salmon (salmone), swordfish (pesce spada), yellowtail (ricciola), mackerel (sgombro), bonito (palamita) present in the two seas, Adriatic and Ionian, of Puglia.
In Puglia, Anchovies are often conserved in extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, to be consumed with freshly baked crunchy bread or added to pasta, pizza, salads and bruschetta.
Tuna and salmon are usually cooked on the grill and roasted as a steak or canned, eaten raw as carpaccio and tartar or used to season pasta like ‘farfalle’ (type of pasta in the shape of butterfly) with salmon and sour cream or spaghetti with tuna, olives and tomatoes.
Another traditional recipe of Puglia is Octopus with tomato sauce and potatoes, called “Purpu alla pignata”. It’s very tasty and a bit spicy.
Sea bass (spigola and branzino), mullet (triglia), grouper (cernia), swordfish (pesce spada),dogfish (palombo) and sea bream (orata) are very appreciated in Puglia.
The most common cooking methods are to simply barbecue them with a parsley filling or bake them in a salt crust, adding just extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice to avoid spoiling the authentic taste of the fish.
Other typical tasty recipes are zuppa di cernia (grouper soup) and zuppa di pesce (fish soup that includes redfish, shrimps and cuttlefish or squid).
In the Puglia region, Scorfano (redfish) is usually consumed in pasta, soups and broths, as its meat is particularly savoury. Cod (merluzzo and baccalà), turbot (rombo), sole (sogliola), snapper (dentice) are also common fish in the Mediterranean sea and characteristic of Pugliese cuisine, where they are used in a wide array of recipes.
Two traditional fish recipes of Puglia come from Gallipoli, one of the most beautiful coastal city of South Italy: they are called “scapece” and “pescatrice alla gallipolina”.
Scapece consists of very small fish (the bogue) called ‘pupiddhi’ in Gallipoli dialect. Covered in flour, deep-fried, put in layers with breadcrumbs and saffron, afterwards soaked with vinegar, scapece has a very strong taste. Another delicious traditional recipe of Puglia is ‘pescatrice alla gallipolina’, filets of monkfish fried in bread crumbles… a real treat!
If you are in love with Italian cuisine and are eager to discover many recipes of Puglia, choose one of our holiday proposals in Puglia!