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Adriatic Fish

Adriatic Fish

Bluefish is probably the most wide spread in the Adriatic, the most economic and probably the most used at the table.

In reality its name does not correspond with the scientifically defined species, in fact when we mention bluefish we usually refer to the one with a characteristic a light-blue back and a silver abdomen. This fish is abundant in the Adriatic sea and that is why it is so economic. As it is rich in "Omega three", fats which are similar to vegetarian fats, it is a precious element for the development of the brain and protection of the heart and arteries.
Once purchased the bluefish should be eviscerated and washed before being put in the fridge or freezer. It is best to place it in on the middle shelf in the fridge, preferably wrapped in cling film or a closed container, to avoid other food from absorbing its odour. If it is fresh it can be immediately put into freezer bags and placed in the freezer, it is best to conserve the fish for less than three months.


Now let's take a look at the different types of bluefish which can be easily found on the fish counters:

  • Anchovies
    small, slender and tapered with a silver colour on its sides and abdomen, they are one of the most common. Each one can measure up to 20 cm and is caught for most of the year by trawler fishing.

  • Garfish
    very common along the entire coast, it is a blue or dark grey fish which migrates and can reach up to 80 cm in length.

  • Shad
    it has a round body and flat sides, a blue back and white abdomen and can be up to 25cm long.

  • Mediterranean sandel
    it has a light-blue, greenish body and silver sides and can reach a maximum length of 16/18 cm. This fish is much requested, it can be prepared in various ways and also conserved.

  • Saury
    of small dimensions (less than 25cm), long body and blue-green colour, it is caught according to season.

  • Lampuga
    its colour is silver grey tending to yellow, while its sides are covered with dark spots. It can measure from 50-80cm.

  • Chub Mackerel
    this is very similar to a mackerel. It has a greenish colour, big eyes and can measure up to 50 cm in length.

  • Scabbardfish
    silver and shiny, it is caught with fishing nets which are called "ciacioli". This fish should not be eaten raw.

  • Sword fish
    a species known since antique times thanks to its characteristic development of the upper jaws which extend in the shape of a sword. In our waters it reaches a maximum length of 3m and a weight of 350kg. One of its advantages is that it provides solid, white, delicate flavoured fish without scales or fish bones.

  • Greater amberjack
    it is a grey predatory fish, it has a green or brown back and a whitish abdomen. The smaller sizes which offer white fish and only a few bones are more renowned.

  • Sardine
    its back has a light-blue, greenish colour and it has silver sides and measures around 12/16 cm. Sardines are caught all year round. You can tell if the fish is fresh by its eyes, they must be "alive" with bright colours. It is a very tasty fish both when fresh or conserved. The ones caught in the Adriatic in particular have a larger quantity of food available so they are fatter and they are at their best when grilled.

  • Mackerel
    this fish has a tapered, hydro-dynamic body with a metallic light-blue colour on its back and measures from 20-40 cm. It offers delicate, white fish which is much appreciated both fresh or conserved in salt.

  • Sprat
    it is never longer than 17cm and in the Adriatic it is best known as "Saraghina". It is excellent if cooked within 24 hours of being caught.

  • Horse-mackerel
    it usually measures from 15-30cm but the larger ones are more prized.

  • Tuna
    a migrant fish which can be found in the deep sea. It can reach a speed of 70 kph. At the moment of purchase check the size of the fish because if it exceeds 40 kg. it is definitely a "red" tuna. The abdominal part is rich in fat and is softer in respect to its back. The red muscles, however, have a stronger flavour.

Among the species most frequently found in the Adriatic are the following:

  • Grey mullet
    a fish with a tapered body, a dark grey colour with light-blue greenish streaks and can be up to 60 cm long. It is a much appreciated fish and some of the best ways to cook it is in the oven or grilled.
  • Dory
    a deep bodied oval shaped fish with flat sides and a big head, its characteristics include a dorsal fin with long cirrus, it also has several fish bones. This fish has a golden, grey colour with yellow veining on its side. It tastes delicious but it must always be fresh, to be sure of this just check it has bulging eyes.
  • Turbot
    a flat fish with a rhomboid shape, almost round, a big mouth with small sharp teeth and both its eyes are positioned on the same side. Its colour can vary from green to grey and it reaches a maximum length of one metre. It loves to stay on sandy sea-beds where it catches molluscs, fish and crustaceans. It is caught by trawl net, it has a delicious flavour and is always under great demand.
  • Sole
    this fish is oval shaped and has a small head, the upper part has a brownish colour with several spots and tends to harmonise easily with the sea-bed where it lives. Our soles are much prized they not only have high nutritious values but they are also tender and delicious
  • Bass
    a fish with a dark back, white abdomen and silver sides, it normally measures up to 50cm. It is caught in the northern part of the Adriatic in particular. Bass has a natural nourishment and they are caught when they go out to sea to reproduce.
  • Red mullet
    its typical bright red colour distinguishes it from the other fish, it measures between 12-18cm and is much requested especially to prepare "brodetto alla cervese" (Cervia style fish soup).

    Passages from booklets distributed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Department of commercial policies, General Management for fishing and aquaculture.
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