Seafood is any form of marine life considered food by humans but not limited to fish and crustaceans or shellfish. Shellfish include various species of molluscs such as mussels, oysters, clams, and cephalopods such as squid or octopus. Historically, marine mammals such as cetaceans including dolphins, whales, as well as seals have been consumed for food.
To try traditional and flavorful Italian seafood dishes, you can try spaghetti alle vongole, fritto misto, linguine allo scoglio, cacciucco, bradetto, etc. These Italian seafood dishes are mainly made with cuttlefish, squid, octopus, prawns, shrimps, etc. To make them flavorful, they are made from fresh seafood that has been caught at the same time.
What Is Seafood?
Seafood is an important source of protein around the world, especially in coastal areas. It is consumed by semi-vegetarians as a sole source of meat that adheres to pescatarians. The harvesting of seafood from the wild is often referred to as hunting or fishing, whereas, farming and cultivation of seafood are known as fish farming or aquaculture.
Humans consume most of the seafood harvest but a significant proportion is used to raise farm animals or other fish. Some seafood is used as a fertilizer for plants. Hence, seafood is used to produce more food for human consumption.
Apart from food consumption, seafood is used to make tablets from fish oil. Also, seafood is used to feed cats.
Best Italian Seafood Dishes
Spaghetti alle Vongole
Spaghetti alle vongole is a traditional Neapolitan dish that is quick and easy to prepare with full of flavors. It consists of just two key ingredients: pasta and vongole clams. However, secondary ingredients such as tomatoes are debatable.
Purists adore the original dish made without tomatoes. This version is known as Bianco, whereas a crushed tomato version is preferred by others. The tomato sauce version is known as spaghetti alle vongole con la salsa di pomodoro.
- Olive Oil
The dish that differs greatly across the country is Fritto Misto. If you are visiting Italy and having a meal on the Italian coastline, then fritto misto is a must-try dish. It consists of mollusks and crustaceans that are usually squids and prawns. At times, paranza is used in this seafood dish that is a collective name for small whole fish such as red mullet, baby mackerel, sardines, fresh anchovies, etc.
In the north of the country, especially in Piedmont, fritto misto is composed of vegetables along with veal brains, oatmeal, skewers of cheese and prosciutto, amaretti crackers, and even apples. Also, try Frutti di Mare while in Italy.
- Soda Water
- Baking Powder
Linguine allo Scoglio
Linguine allo scoglio is an all-time favorite seafood dish in Italy often called linguine ai frutti di mare. It is a typical southern Italian seafood dish. In the 1980s, in the wider Napolitana region and the southern coast of Italy, there was not a single restaurant that had linguine allo scoglio on their classic Italian menu.
The main course pasta consists of spaghetti or linguine with a combination of fresh seafood or shellfish. Neapolitan and other scoglio depend on the seasonality of the seafood. Because of countless variations, there is no exact recipe for it. Traditionally, linguine allo scoglio includes calamaretti, baby squid, shrimp, mussels, or clams.
Tuscan fish stew dates back at least 500 years in history. It was probably invented by the frugal fishermen of Livorno. It was made from what was left on the bottom of their boats after selling every valuable fish on the market.
Traditionally, the cacciucco is said to have five different types of seafood such as one for each C in the name. Squid, octopus, or cod comes first, whereas, shrimp or prawns, mussels, and soft fish are added at the end of the cooking.
- Olive Oil
- Squid or Octopus
Broéto, boreto, or brodetto is a tomato-based seafood stew. You will find it on most of the Italian coasts. This seafood dish was traditionally made by fishermen from the catch that was not sold in the market. The key ingredient of no surprise is squid, shellfish, or fish.
Brodetto is flavored with garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, onion, and rosemary and served with polenta. A simple slice of bread soaks up the delicious sauce to make it simpler and more satisfying.
- Bay Leaf
- Shrimps or Mussels or Squid or Red Mullet
Acqua Pazza is one of the Italian classics. It is a traditional Neapolitan way of poaching fish that dates back to the Middle Ages. In the past, there was a high tax on salt, which was then an unavailable commodity. As a result, local fishermen used to poach the catch of the day from seawater to make acqua pazza.
This simple broth was flavored with tomatoes and olive oil. Over time, the recipe evolved and acqua pazza became a sought-after dish on the Italian coast. It was popular in the 1960s with the tourists of the island of Capri.
Baccala Mantecato is a traditional Italian seafood dish that is often associated with the Veneto region. It consists of salt cod boiled in a mixture of milk and water. It is then completely deboned and grounded until it forms a creamy and firm mixture.
In the final stage, olive oil is used to enrich the fish along with parsley. It is a true light delicacy seafood dish full of flavors ranging from thick to creamy. Crusty or toasted bread or grilled polenta is used while serving Baccala Mantecato.
- Olive Oil
Calamari Ripieni is a savory Italian seafood dish consisting of stuffed squid. The calamari is stuffed with a variety of ingredients such as onion, parsley, pine nuts, capers, breadcrumbs, and garlic. Fresh squid is used to make this dish, making it complicated because of the long process of preparation such as cleaning the squid.
Stuffed squid is often combined with tomato sauce or anchovies. Then the whole mixture is baked until tender. Also, try baked swordfish with vegetables.
- Pine Nuts
Other Italian Seafood Dish
Seafood – Traditional Italian Seafood
Seafood consuming, processing, and hunting has been an ancient practice dating back to the paleolithic. It has been used as a source of protein in many diets. Also, it has been used as a source of food for farm animals or to produce more fish. Apart from all the food purposes, seafood has been a source of spirulina or fish oil tablets.
While in Italy if you are craving Italian seafood dishes, then you will find a variety of them. Some of the best Italian seafood dishes date back 500 years. They were prepared as a left-over food which then became famous across Italy. Most of the best Italian seafood dishes can be found across the Italian coast.