Eating in Salento: fish at its best

Eating in Salento: fish at its best

Leuca for simple and elegant Salento cuisine

Any holiday in Salento, one knows, wins over visitors and leaves lasting memories thanks to its genuine, fresh and tasty food. One of Salento’s specialties is certainly fish, caught daily and served up directly onto the plates of hotels and restaurants everywhere. So fresh, it can also be eaten raw thanks to the love and respect that the Salentini have for their seas, keeping them clean and respecting the life cycles of all marine species and their habitats.

Having such a high-quality raw material means that even traditional recipes are numerous and all delicious, delights to satisfy everyone’s palate, simple but at the same time refined.

In Leuca’s trattorias and restaurants every chef boasts of having his own secret recipe based on fish, molluscs and shellfish. Traditionally, the more common fish are the blue ones, which the sea from Leuca to Lecce is very rich in. These include: anchovies, sardines, spicalides (tracuri), colei (mackerel), ope (boghe). Then there are the molluscs such as cuttlefish, octopus, squid and mussels, the famous black mussels, not to mention shrimp, especially Gallipoli shrimp, the native species and much sought after.

Salento folk generally like fish fried or raw. Blue fish are usually fried – a nice dish of fried sardines or paranza is finger-licking good – while mussels and sea urchins are often eaten raw, seasoned with nothing more than a few drops of lemon. Among the unmissable dishes there are: mussel tjedda, rice and potatoes, with a perfume and taste worthy of a novel by Proust; the Gallipoli fish soup made with cuttlefish, scorpion fish, prawns, molluscs, tomatoes, small pieces of bread. Washed down with a good glass of wine you’ll find it so rich that you’ll feel you’ve eaten a whole ocean; and there’s ‘U purpu a la pignata’, octopus cooked over low heat in a traditional terracotta pot called a ‘pignata’. It’s the pot that preserves all its goodness and taste.

Trust us when we say that, thanks to the Salento gastronomy, a holiday in Leuca is a taste of paradise!