On Tuesday my mother (nonna Lella) asked me to take her to the fish market downtown, as she wanted to cook her famous ‘fish soup’ (brodetto) for lunch. Brodetto, incidentally, is not simply a fish soup. It’s more of a philosophy and each family has its own special recipe. Our family, following my grandfather Sergio’s footsteps, often prefers the ‘white’ version with green peppers to the one with fresh tomatoes. Anyway, brodetto is leading me astray!
I often walk by the fish market close to the Courthouse in Pesaro but I had never entered the market before, as I prefer buying fresh fish in one of the open-air strolls along the channel or in my trusted fish shop close to the harbour.
Anyway, thanks to my mother I got the opportunity to visit it and get acquainted with quite peculiar fish and molluscs. The first case that drew my attention was full of sardines, belonging to the so-called pesce azzurro family (I looked up pesce azzurro on the dictionary and I found that in English it’s either ‘green fish’, ‘bluetailed fish’ or ‘oily fish). Anyway, bluetailed fish is supposed to be healthy as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acid (and… it’s cheap!).
Then I walked along a parade of shrimps, lobsters, octopuses, soles, red mullets (which we call in Pesarese dialect roscioli, meaning roscio in vernacular ‘red’), crabs, monkfish, mantis shrimps (cannocchie or pannocchie ), brills, European squids (trofelli is how we have always called them in our family even if it is not proper Italian).
When I got back home I tried to gather a few information for this post and I found out very curious things about fish I hadn’t have a clue before (even if I was born and live in a sea-town!).
Did you know, for instance, that red mullets are heralds who announce the end of Summer (as you fish massive quantities here just before Autumn begins)? And did you know that San Pietro (John Dory or Peter’s fish) has a very odd shape and many nonpoisonous spines? And that it is of a grey/green color with two dark circular spots on both sides which, according to tradition, are supposed to be the fingerprints of Saint Peter, the Apostle?
I love living by the sea. Sunrise and sunset by the sea are a restorative for my soul. Going to the beach in the Summer with my family and friends, having a dinner by the beach, walking barefoot on the sand, drinking an iced coffee laying under the beach umbrella, making sand castles with my daughter… how I love all this! And how I love freshly fished fish!