The sea is a living and vital place and, as such, it follows natural cycles that naturally also affect the species that populate it. This means that there is one seasonality of fish quite similar to that of fruit and vegetables. To be supported, also bearing in mind the origin, to discover that the Mediterranean, in winter, can give you great satisfaction.
Caught close by
The best deals, from the point of view of quality and wallet, are done with the local fish. It is therefore important to check thelabel, where the origin must be indicated together with the relative Fao code (the FAO is the United Nations organization for food and agriculture) which indicates the fishing areas. Zones 37.1 37.2 37.3 are related to Mediterranean, from the Balearics to Turkey.
What to buy in winter?
As the guide of Slow Food “Let's eat them right” (downloadable here), in our seas the cold months are the right time for straw bream, bonito, octopus, turbot, sardines, cuttlefish, mullet, clams. Available all the year they are gray mullet, murmurs, hake, glance, bream, monkfish, turbot, St. Peter's, saber, scorpion fish, mackerel, horse mackerel and zerro. In the fish market there are also excellent pink prawns, plump shrimp, delicate cicadas, savory lupins (common clams), fleshy anchovies, fine soles, elegant amberjacks. The gallinelle are small but full of flavor, the squid tender and perfect for stuffing.
Why follow the seasonality?
Buying fish specialties according to the season has several advantages. The first is, of course, optimal quality, especially in winter! In fact, specimens that swim in colder seas have firmer and more compact meats than in the hot season. Some species, such as sole, have just reproduced and are found leaner and more digestible. In addition, the low temperatures allow a better conservation of the catch.
An expense that is good for the environment
As Slow Food points out, fish are considered seasonal they are not in reproductive stage. Fishing them right now means respecting their times of growth and development, safeguarding the marine biodiversity. If in addition to this we turn to our own products, we limit the consumption of fish that comes from afar with long and polluting journeys, by sea or by land.
A look at the portfolio
Typical winter fish, molluscs and crustaceans have a lower price of other qualities which, not being in season, are imported causing prices to soar. But the convenience also comes from the fact that, when it's cold outside, meat is usually cooked more and, consequently, there is less demand for fish products and prices fall. The only exception anchovies which, swimming farther offshore, rather than under the coast as in summer, are more demanding to fish and therefore less economical than in the hot months, but on the other hand very tasty.
Better in the kitchen
Even the recipes in winter they are different: if in summer raw and quick cooking are preferred, now there is more desire to stay in the stove, turn on the oven or cook rich soups, letting broths and stews mumble over the fire. It is time, then, to try the recipes we offer you. Perfect for a winter table, dreaming of the sea.
Chicken fillets, fennel and baked apples. Prepare a sauce with 4 tablespoons of oil, a glass of Apple juice, a peeled and crushed clove of garlic, a teaspoon of fennel seeds and a few tufts of Rosemary. Have 800 g of fillets of tub gurnard in a bowl, toss with the sauce and marinate for an hour. Clean 2 fennel (keeping some green barbina aside) and cut them into very thin slices. Also cut one into slices Red Apple with the peel. Arrange the fennel and apples, alternating them, on an oiled plate. Season with salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil and cook at 200 ° for 10 minutes. Turn the slices and cook for another 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 180 ° and add the chicken fillets, sprinkling them with their marinade. Continue cooking for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with the barbine kept aside. For 4 people.
Stuffed mantis shrimp in the oven. Simmer 600 g of datterini tomatoes canned, with their liquid, in a pan with half a clove of garlic, a drizzle of oil, a pinch of salt and one of sugar. Pepper, remove the garlic and set aside. Chop another half clove of garlic with 20 g of dry porcini mushrooms and a tablespoon of bread crumbs. Mix this mixture with another 60 g of breadcrumbs, 4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and the half grated rind lemon. Wash 16 mantis shrimp and clean them by removing the paws under the belly. Cut them with scissors along the back, spread them slightly and fill them with the aromatic compound through the incision. Arrange them in a pan with the tomato sauce. Drizzle with oil and bake in a preheated oven at 190 ° for 15 minutes. Complete with parsley shredded and serve. For 4 people.
Bonito rolls with sauce. Clean a deck of turnip greens, blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water, drain, squeeze them and sauté them in a pan with a peeled clove of garlic, salt and chilli powder. Cut a bonito fillet about 800 g into slices slightly thicker than a carpaccio and lightly salt them. Divide the turnip greens over the slices and roll them up to make the rolls. Fry in a pan with a drizzle of oil 2 spring onions minced with an unpeeled clove of garlic, 2 anchovy fillets in oil chopped, a pinch of red pepper and the zest of a lemon into small pieces. Join 6 Cherry tomatoes cut the rolls in half and cook for 6-8 minutes, gently turning the rolls on all sides. Complete with 2 tablespoons of Taggiasca olives pitted, cut into small pieces. For 4 people.
Clam and bean soup. Put 400 g of dried cannellini beans, already soaked. Join 2 carrots in chunks, one onion sliced, a clove of garlic and 2 bay leaves. Cover with water, bring to a boil and cook for an hour and a half, adding more boiling water if necessary. Peel and chop another onion and brown it in a pan with a peeled clove of garlic and 4 tablespoons of oil. Combine 600 g of clams (already drained and washed), cover and let them open. Deglaze with a glass of White wine, evaporate the alcohol, turn off, drain the clams and peel them, keeping a few aside to decorate. Strain the stock and put it back in the pot with the clams. Season with chili dry and chopped parsley chopped, cook for a few moments and turn off. Add a sachet of saffron and stir to dissolve it. Add the clam broth, season with salt, turn off and serve. For 4 people.