Enjoying the sea of Naples on the table

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It’s not really summer without the sea on the table: the smell of clams, a tasty impepata di cozze, among dives, swims and suntan, relaxed on a terrace or under the moon. That’s the best recipe to enjoy summer days. So let’s discover the most popular dishes in Campania during July and August!

We can begin with her majesty the bass, a fish typical of Mediterranean coasts, with tender white meat. It can be cooked on the barbecue, baked in foil, but the best way is all’acqua pazza (crazy water). It is said that this tasty recipe has been created in Ponza and then arrived in Capri, where the famous actor Totò made it a legend. Allow the bass to cook for few minutes, and then add a clove of garlic, some piennolo tomatoes, chilli, and parsley. Tasty!

Let’s move toward shellfish, the right ingredient for 1001 satisfying recipes. They give their best with spaghetti, paccheri or as horsd’oeuvre. Cozze (mussels), vongole (clams), lupini, fasolari, cannolicchi (razor-clams), maruzzielli: they can be eaten fried, boiled, or raw with just a squeeze of lemon. Don’t know where to start from? Oysters, of course! Ancient Romans cultivated them on Campi Flegrei coasts. Today they triumph in many Terra Felix recipes: raw with lemon and pepper, or au gratin with anchovies and capers. Oysters are delicious in any way![charme-gallery]

Then there are vongole (clams), a Neapolitan term deriving from vulgar Latin conchŭla (shell). In Naples these pearls of taste have found their glory: with or without tomato. Indeed, some people prefer vermicelli with a sauce made with vongole and fresh tomatoes, others with just olive oil, vongole, a clove of garlic, and a little bit of chilli. Their “poor cousins” are called lupini, and they are better prepared sautéed in a pan with garlic, olive oil and tomatoes and mixed with spaghetti, scialatielli or linguine. What a delicacy!

Mussels are another stronghold of made in Campania. Cozza is the popular name given to mytilus, a bivalve mollusc diffused in the waters of the Gulf. Low-fat and rich in iron, cozza needs to be consumed well cooked for hygienic reasons (it filters the water to get nourishment), for example in impepata, soups or with pasta.

Another must of Neapolitan cuisine is cannolicchio (razor-clam): try it in horsd’oeuvre with garlic, chilli, parsley, and olive oil, otherwise grilled or au gratin with a mix of vinegar, parsley, olive oil and breadcrumbs.

And what about anchovies indorate e fritte (golden and fried)? Anchovies are really healthy, thanks to the high values of Omega3. Indorate, golden, like the colour they assume because they are dipped in egg, then in flour and lastly fried. Simply fabulous. Like colatura di alici, a typical produce of Cetara, in the Amalfi Coast: a liquid amber-coloured sauce traditionally produced leaving anchovies in water and salt. A process probably connected to Garum, a seasoning used by the ancient Romans. Colatura di alici is used to give more flavour to fish or vegetables dishes, spaghetti, linguine and tagliatelle. Prepare a well minced mix of parsley, garlic, tomato, and chilli. Add it to cooked unsalted pasta, and use one spoon of colatura di alici per person, and a little bit of olive oil: extraordinary.[charme-gallery]

Another fresh and genuine horsd’oeuvre who is worth a try with a piece of freshly baked bread is alici marinate (marinated anchovies), left for a couple of hours or more in a mix of vinegar and lemon.

And then a typical dish of Amalfi Coast: spaghetti with sepia, the black gold used by the chefs to season their masterpieces. A succulent dish with a peculiar aspect, so tasty and delicate. Like gnocchi with courgettes and mussels, maccheroni with swordfish, mussels omelette, risotto alla pescatora (with mixed shellfish, squids and tomatoes), and linguine with lobster, prawns, shellfish, and squids. And what about mixed fried fish, with prawns, tattlers, squids and small fishes? And polipo (octopus)? Prepare it all’insalata, a light and tasty horsd’oeuvre, with olive oil and lemon, or with a spicy sauce for strozzapreti and spaghetti.

Do not forget to accompany fish with white wine, possibly a good Falanghina from Campania. With so many options the sea of Naples has no rivals on the table!