Aspra is a small town near Palermo that tells the fascinating story of anchovy production. The fascinating history of the aspra anchovy dates back to the 1950s when the first anchovy processing warehouses were established. Even for the past few years, an anchovy and maritime arts museum has also been built. A Museum that tells the story of Anchovy through ancient documents, tools used for fishing and salting.
It is said that the birth of the anchovy came from Spain, in the Cantabrian Sea, and was intertwined with Sicilian fishermen who migrated there. Cantabrian anchovies are one of Spain’s gastronomic specialties. Fleshy, fragrant, large and slightly salty, their value is very high today. But it was not always so! Until the late nineteenth century, in fact, in Spain, anchovies were used as bait for other fish.
In Italy, on the other hand, the opposite happened, anchovy was already famous and in high demand. In addition, the Sicilians, were experts in techniques of salting and preserving anchovies. So Sicilian fishermen began to teach the Spanish their fishing techniques, how to process the anchovy, how to salt it, and how to preserve it.
From that time on, the anchovy went from being an unwanted and worthless fish to a true gastronomic specialty of great respect and economic value. Even today, many Sicilian fishing companies collaborate with the Spanish to process anchovy.
How to taste the Aspra anchovy
The island’s gastronomic tradition offers an infinity of preparations with anchovy. You can taste anchovies on tapas, appetizers, pasta or on their own, taste them in their original flavor. Some examples of Sicilian recipes with anchovies are “broccoli al tegame” or “sfincione bagherese” or even pasta with anchovies and bottarga.
Anchovy is an oily fish very rich in Omega 3 and 6 fats, which are beneficial to the body and effective for a healthy tan, hydration and skin elasticity. It cannot be missing in a healthy and balanced diet and that is why Sicilian cuisine use it a lot.
Garum or anchovy sauce
Garum was prepared essentially from fish entrails and t was the most popular seasoning in the Roman Empire. It could be found of different qualities, and the best could come at a high cost. It was used to flavor every dish.
In Italy the most famous descendant is “colatura di alici” or anchovy sauce, now used to make delicious pasta dishes. It is typically used to dress spaghetti and linguine that must be cooked without salt, as it is very salty. The perfect pairing you can try is Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and bottarga.
If you are looking for Sicilian recipes with anchovies, then you are in the right place. Discover the recipe of Margherita pasta with anchovies from Aspra and buy everything you need to prepare it in the pasta with anchovies box.