Believe it or not, seafood is the staple diet of many an Italian.
Just think of Italy’s boot-shaped peninsula and its people’s near-obsession with fresh, high quality and local food and you’ll start to see how much of a role seafood really plays in Italian cuisine.
Nearly all of Italy’s 20 regions have a stretch of lush coastline that offers access to a bounty of delicious fresh fish, squid, shrimp, lobster, mussels, clams and more from five different seas, and at Pazzo! many of our dishes reflect the widespread presence of seafood in true Italian cuisine.
We’ll break down some common and must-have Italian seafood dishes to try, and what we’ve got a Pazzo! that’s inspired by authentic Italian seafood dishes.
From region to region, Italian food can be drastically different. Many coastal cities are greatly influenced by what they catch just off the coast, especially in locales like Venice, the Amalfi Coast and Puglia – Italy’s boot-heel region.
Seafood is tossed with pasta, not plopped on top.
In cities near a sea or river, you’ll likely find pasta tossed with small morsels of fish, crab or shellfish, instead of an entire fillet set atop a mound of pasta. Some of the most delicious renditions of pasta mixed with seafood come from Sicily with local catches ranging from spada (swordfish) to sardinia (sardines).
Our Fidelini pasta is inspired by this tradition with a blend of king crab, jumbo lump blue crab, and lump blue crab tossed in a spiced marinara with fresh basil and parsley mixed with fresh house-made fidelini pasta.
Italians are BIG on tuna.
Tonno, or tuna (especially bluefin tuna off Italy’s coast), is regarded as one of the world’s best tuna. In fact, tuna played such a big role in Italian life at one time there were whole villages called tonnare which essentially subsisted on the tuna fishing industry.
Sicily’s San Vito Lo Capo was one of the most famous tonnare. Our Tonno at Pazzo! blends the regional flavors of Sicily and Naples. The Tuna is grilled to order and served alongside a custom blend of linguini dressed in a house puttanesca made of sauteed fresh tomatoes, garlic, capers, fresh basil and lemon infused olive oil.
Tentacles count as food too.
Squid and octopus are particularly popular on Italy’s southern coastline. Octopus also known as polpo may be served cold or grilled. Squid or calamaro might be cut into small rings and fried, or kept whole, stuffed and then baked.
At Pazzo! we dish up Roasted Octopus, slow-braised for tenderness, with caramelized fennel and white beans, fresh tomatoes, potatoes, oregano and lemon with fregola sarda, a style of pasta from Sardinia.
Japanese have sushi. Italians have crudo.
Italians even love their seafood raw, and for a long time, crudo also known as a fish carpaccio, has been a popular treat to enjoy along the Adriatic coast of Italy.
It’s said that crudos became a style of eating seafood set into motion by fishermen who sliced raw fish and drizzled it with olive oil and salt at a snack while still out at sea. These days, diners enjoy a variety of very fresh raw fish drizzled with high quality extra virgin olive oil (aka evoo), some sort of citrus, salt, pepper and other complementary ingredients.
At Pazzo!, we have a range of crudos including our Hawaiian Blue Marlin topped with diced fresh melons, micro arugula, Sicilian black salt and virgin olive oil; and Seared Ahi Tuna with hearts of artichoke petals, cucumber, microgreens extra virgin olive oil, fresh citrus, and white truffle balsamic.
So next time you go out for Italian, eat like a true Italian!