Tag: Carloforte

The fixed tuna fisheries of Carloforte and tuna in the Tabarchine cuisine – Italian Cuisine

The fixed tuna fisheries of Carloforte and tuna in the Tabarchine cuisine

The central element of the Tabarcina culture is undoubtedly tuna, around which a large part of life and the local economy revolves. Here are three traditional recipes

"THE tabarchini they are masters of tuna: they know how to fish, work, cook . And just a Carloforte the last fixed tuna traps in Italy are still found, along with those of Portoscuso, also in Sardinia.

The fixed traps of Carloforte

It is important to underline that the tuna traps of Carloforte, once on the Piana island, are practically the only fixed ones left in Italy. What differentiates them from the others is the fact that they are a type of sustainable fishing and non-invasive, which allows you to select the tuna to fish, taking only the one in transit. For this reason it has also been proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The large mobile tuna traps, on the other hand, such as those with purse seines or longlines, mortify the species with reckless catches, catching whole schools of tuna in a short time. For all these reasons, Tabarchins are rightly proud of their tuna, the bluefin (Thunnus thynnus) commonly called bluefin tuna and considered by many to be the best in the world and this explains its higher price than the others. For the Tabarchins it still constitutes a large part of the local economy: "Up until the recent past it was an invaluable resource, something like the buffalo for the Native Americans or the seal for the Inuit", reads the text We are disappearing. Travel to Italy in the minority, of Ctrl Magazine, among the few to have dealt with this topic with Sergio Rossi, author together with the biologist Nadia Repetto of the book The reasons for the tuna, which clearly shows the importance of tuna. The Tabarchini, in fact, perfectly know every single part of it, with their respective best uses in the kitchen.

Tuna in the Tabarcina cuisine

In Tabarkina cuisine, tuna is omnipresent, both in homes and in restaurants, in all its parts. Nothing is thrown away from tuna! In addition to the cans in oil, among the best there are in circulation, the bluefin tuna from Carloforte is also salted directly raw, after being cleaned and washed. Once dried, it is cut as if it were a real salami, such as bresaola. This preparation is called musciamme or musciame, and is consumed both alone and together with other ingredients; it is no coincidence that it is also widespread in Liguria, where it is prepared in a very similar way, since we remember that the Tabarchini are the current descendants of the Genoese who emigrated to Tunisia, in Tabarca. Another very common specialty is Belu, that is the stomach of tuna, a kind of tripe, which is prepared in two ways: fresh, with fresh tomato sauce and onion; or dried and then rehydrated, just like stockfish. But tuna is also eaten heart, the esophagus, the stomach, the eggs, that is bottarga and so on. In short, everything you can! Its strategic passage in the Mediterranean is called running tuna, since when it passes it is in the running for reproduction, usually between April and June. For this, a chef from Carloforte, According to Borghero, he decided to call his restaurant just like that, Running tuna, one of the best in the area. "I opened this restaurant in 1980 with the idea of ​​promoting Carlofort's cuisine and culture. The name, in fact, is a reference to the racing fish caught in our traps. Having always had a passion for cooking, before I did several seasons here and there, but what has always interested me is the anthropological awareness linked to food . Borghero is one of the ambassadors of the local tuna, which he prepares in infinite variations: "But I never use it all year round, only in its season, that is, when it migrates to these waters, between April, May and June". So, here are three of his recipes, very popular in the Tabarchine cuisine.

Carlofortina pasta and pesto

This dish is the umpteenth confirmation of the indissoluble link between the Tabarchini and their homeland, Liguria. But it is the demonstration of how traditional cuisine evolves and changes, always and continuously. «As soon as they arrived in Carloforte, Secondo tells us, «the tabarchini were unable to make basil like the Ligurian one, since it has unique features, given by the microclimate, the territory and many other factors. In particular, the basil in Carloforte was a little mentholated. So the tabarchini started making a kind of pesto that tasted slightly of mint, adding garlic and other herbs in quantities such as marjoram, to cover this note. It was made in homes in ancient times: it is a popular recipe . Then over time this sort of Tabarchino pesto evolved, with the addition of tomato and especially tuna, which became the central element of the dish, perhaps to compensate for the lack of flavor of the Ligurian pesto. Thus, today a kind of tuna sauce is made, where pesto is only secondary.
You may find pasta alla carlofortina also with trofie, but in reality the original format is the casulli: it is a typical Tabarchina fresh pasta, made with durum wheat semolina, in the shape of a dumpling. This is why it is somewhat reminiscent of Sardinian malloreddus, albeit larger. But be careful not to confuse them with another form of Tabarchina pasta, curzetti, which do not have that typical casulli groove, which is essential to support the Carlofortina sauce.

Ingredients for 4 people

400 g of casulli
80 g of salt
100 g of tuna (buzzonaglia in oil)
50 g of onion
1 bunch of basil
1 clove of garlic
2 sprigs of marjoram
80 g of Parmesan cheese
8 dried tomatoes
to taste extra virgin olive oil


Boil the tomatoes for 10 minutes, then pass them with a vegetable mill. Prepare a sauce with the oil and onion over a very low heat for about 10 minutes, add the tomato purée and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes; put the buzzonaglia dry without the preservation oil and perfume with marjoram. Prepare a raw green sauce with the bunch of basil, 3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of coarse salt and blend everything. Cook the casulli in plenty of water for about 18 minutes. Sauté the pasta in a pan for a few minutes with the tomato sauce and tuna. With the fire off, add the basil sauce and cheese. Some advice: the characteristic of this dish is its succulence, therefore its seasoning must be abundant.

The capunadda, the fishermen's bread (and the facussa)

Not surprisingly, once again, this dish is more reminiscent of the caponadda Genoese and Sicilian caponata. It is prepared with various parts of the tuna, those that we are usually used to discard, considered poorer, such as the buzzonaglia, that is the area of ​​the fillet in contact with the central bone, which is darker because it is sprayed with blood and for this reason considered less valuable. These are then seasoned with fresh tomatoes and crackers, to form a sort of very fresh salad, called the fishermen's bread. In this dish there is also another very important ingredient for the Tabarchini, as yet another active testimony of their having been to Tabarca. This is the facussa, which Professor tells us about Truss Nicolo (a very common name among Tabarchins): "When they emigrated from Tunisia they brought with them the seeds of this vegetable, which is now also grown on the island of San Pietro, so much so that it is considered an island specialty. But its origins are in Tabarca. Then over the years someone started giving seeds to some friends, so it spread outside, for example… in Liguria. And they did the same with some tomatoes such as Trei Canti . The facussa is a kind of cucumber with a particular shape, which twists on itself as it grows, similar to courgette, but with a slightly saltier flavor; it is usually prepared raw in salads, almost always with tuna-based dishes, like this one.


200 g of biscuits
4 medium-sized tomatoes (about 300 g)
100 g of buzzonaglia
5-6 slices of tuna heart
5-6 slices of musciamme
150 g of facussa cut into pieces
to taste extra virgin olive oil
5-6 basil leaves
1 sprig of marjoram
a few drops of red vinegar


Soften the biscuits with very little water, break them up and season with extra virgin olive oil and red vinegar.
Cut the tomatoes into wedges, taking care to eliminate as much liquid and seeds as possible. Chop the slices of heart and musciamme, crumble the buzzonaglia. Add the facussa touches, the basil leaves and the marjoram. This is a typically summer dish that should be eaten as soon as it is prepared, so that the biscuit retains its crunchiness.

Carlofortina tuna, the roast of tabarchini

With the tarantello, that very lean part between the back and the belly, the delicious carlofortina roast tuna is prepared. It is a kind of braised meat which, in fact, in the Carlofortine tradition, is called "roast tuna", just as if it were a roast cooked in a pan, concludes Secondo.


800 g of tuna (tarantello)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 glass of white wine
1 coffee cup of white vinegar
5-6 dry bay leaves
3 cloves of garlic
salt to taste


Cut the fish pulp into large pieces weighing 70/80 g and 3-4 cm high. Dip the tuna in hot oil for no more than a minute. In a large-bottomed pan, simmer some extra virgin olive oil with garlic in its shirt; after a few minutes remove the garlic. Separately, dissolve the tomato paste with the vinegar in a cup and add to the pan over low heat. As soon as the vinegar has evaporated, place the touches of tarantello in the pan, sprinkle with white wine, season with bay leaves, add salt and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes.
Finally, after cooking it is recommended to let the dish rest for a few hours.

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