Saturday, January 29, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

MENAICA ANCHOVIES

These anchovies are fished using an ancient technique that was once widespread throughout the Mediterranean but now continues in just a few isolated places, including the Cilento coast, in particular in Marina di Pisciotta, a small village on the coast between Velia and Capo Palinuro.
A group of fishermen go out at night with their boats (no more than 7 or 8) and nets, which are both called menaica or menaide.
Menaica anchovies are fished when the sea is calm, between April and July: boats go out at dusk and the net is laid to prevent the fish from going out to sea. The net makes a selection as only the biggest in size are caught. Lively and darting, once the anchovies get trapped, they quickly lose all their blood. The net is pulled on the boat by hand and the anchovies are extracted from the net one by one, removing head and bowels. Then they are placed in wooden cases and - most important - no ice or other refrigerants are used for transport. Once delivered to the harbour, the anchovies are immediately washed in brine, then layered with salt in terracotta jars and left to rest for at least three months in the so-called magazzeni, cool and wet premises where, before the harbour was built, boats were also kept.
Menaica anchovies are distinguished by their pale pink flesh and intense, delicate aroma which make them unique.