Acciughe Sotto Sale del Mar Ligure PGI are anchovies produced and conserved under salt. The anchovies belong exclusively to the gregarious and migratory Engraulis encrasicolus L. fish species.
The production area of Acciughe Sotto Sale del Mar Ligure PGI is within the entire coastal territory of the region of Liguria.
The anchovies are fished with the traditional “lamp” method or with round-haul nets in the period between April 1st and October 15th, when the anchovies reach puberty. Each kilogram of product must correspond to between 35 and 50 individual anchovy. The freshly caught fish are sent for processing within 12 hours. Acciughe Sotto Sale del Mar Ligure PGI can be pre-salted in order to stimulate the elimination of excess blood. The anchovies are cleaned, only by hand, and the head and innards are removed. The product is then arranged in a radial pattern in in chestnut wood, terracotta, plastic or steel containers suitable for the storage of food. Each layer is covered with food marine salt. A disc is placed on the top layer of fish and constant pressure is exerted. Curing lasts for 40-60 days and after the first four to five days the liquid obtained from the pressing must be substituted with brine. When the curing process is finished the salted anchovies are transferred into arbanelle, special cylindrical glass containers, layered and covered with a fine layer of marine salt. The top layer must be completely covered with specially prepared brine for packaging and a disc of slate, glass or plastic which keeps the anchovies thoroughly pressed.
Appearance and Flavour
Acciughe Sotto Sale del Mar Ligure PGI have very thin skin and must be whole, with a length of between 10 and 20 cm. The colour varies from pink to deep brown, depending on the size of the fish. The fillets must be attached to the bone and have a soft consistency. The flesh is lean with a characteristic dry flavour and a distinct savoury taste.
Acciughe Sotto Sale del Mar Ligure PGI is the product of the ancient fishing traditions of Ligurian seamen. The knowledge of fish conservation techniques, such as salting, is confirmed by archaeological finds that date back to the IV millennium B.C, although official historical documents date back to a more recent era. During the XVI century, the Republic of Genoa was already controlling the fish supply, prices and sales, through the sanctioning of severe regulations that the fisherman had to adhere to.
Acciughe Sotto Sale del Mar Ligure PGI should be kept in a cool place, not in the fridge, and must be eaten at least two months after salting and within 24 months of the packaging date. Before use, the salt must be rinsed off under cold running water, the backbones are removed and the fish are carefully dried with a cloth. They can be used as an ingredient in numerous dishes, eaten fresh as a starter (Ligurian-style anchovies are a traditional starter in Genoa) and as a basic ingredient in pasta dishes and main courses.
Acciughe Sotto Sale del Mar Ligure PGI are the result of environmental and climatic factors, together with the ancient processing technique. The distinctive conformation of the territory, the reduced thermal imbalances and the elevated salinity of the sea have proved to be ideal characteristics for fishing and conservation.