Today we’re talking about capers from Pantelleria, tiny but very rich in flavour. But there’s more, we’ll also discover caper berries, caper leaves and the caper production farm that brings Pantelleria’s tradition to the world. Ready to go?
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CETARA ANCHOVIES: FOOD PAIRINGS AND RECIPES
Cetara anchovies are a delight from Campania that has been a source of livelihood for the fishermen of this small fishing village for centuries. Today anchovy fishing is still a driving force for Cetara’s economy and virtuous companies dedicate themselves completely to this raw material following local tradition, in order to preserve the real taste of these anchovies.
Anchovies are used raw - i.e. freshly caught - in many recipes. I personally love them packed in salt. As a matter of fact, after being caught only in the Gulf of Salerno from the end of March until early July, Cetara anchovies are packed straight away in salt, when they are still very fresh. This very short production chain guarantees the highest quality.
Cetara anchovies are processed by hand and selected according to their size. The anchovies of the Amalfi Coast are rather firm and fleshy, and are thus ideal even after they have been filleted and salted. As far as salt is concerned, Cetara manufacturers only use either Apulian sea salt from the salt flats in Margherita di Savoia or Sicilian salt from Trapani.
Cetara anchovies packed in salt can be bought either whole or filleted. If you purchase whole anchovies, you should rinse them with water to remove excess grains of salt and dab them prior to cooking. I personally love buying anchovies that I can pack in oil myself. I love to pack them in just olive oil or whatever infused oil I like, perhaps adding some minced garlic and parsley to extra virgin olive oil.
If you feel like sipping some wine, anchovies, with their intense sapidity and flavour of the sea, go very well with a glass of sparkly wine or with dry and mineral wines, such as Vermentino di Sardegna or DOC Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi.
As far as food pairings are concerned, one thing is sure: I think that the winning combination is bread, butter and anchovies. There is no debate. I still remember how I use to eat anchovies at my grandma’s house, though. In Tuscany anchovies used to be eaten on a slice of bread with olive oil and some drops of red wine vinegar - so tasty!
Cetara anchovies are a great flavour enhancer for many recipes, a little bit like Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or cured fish roe. Since they are packed in salt, they are very tasty and can add a kick of flavour to your dish; they’re incredible on Bruschetta.
Starters with Cetara anchovies and…
If you wish to prepare a starter with Cetara anchovies, you have two options: cold or hot dishes. Anchovies packed in salt are delicious when they are raw in my opinion; here you have some top recipes to create truly delicious gourmet Bruschetta and starters:
• Bruschetta with multigrain bread, buffalo Mozzarella or Burrata, one anchovy fillet, olive oil and a basil leaf
• Bruschetta with white bread, diced tomatoes, olives, capers and one anchovy fillet
• Salad with Puntarelle chicory dressed with a sauce with oil, vinegar, anchovies, garlic, capers and parsley which have been minced and emulsified
• Slices of toasted bread with steamed asparagus, poached egg and anchovy filet
• Cold salad with potatoes, hard-boiled eggs dressed with a sauce with oil, vinegar, anchovies, garlic, capers and parsley which have been minced and emulsified
There is another recipe that best enhances the deliciousness of this oily fish packed in salt: Spaghetti with anchovies.
… Spaghetti with Cetara anchovies
The ingredients for four people are:
150g anchovies packed in salt
1 clove of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
If you have purchased whole anchovies, you need to desalt them and remove the fish bone first. Once the fillets are ready, chop them finely with garlic and parsley and put them aside in a big bowl with olive oil. Now it’s time to cook Spaghetti. Drain the pasta when it’s still firm - very important! - and put it in the bowl with the minced anchovies. The secret behind the success of this recipe is not cooking the Cetara anchovies directly above the heat, but rather stirring them in the hot pasta. Mix well and serve very hot.
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