Catch of the Day, Recipes and culinary adventures in Southern Italy is a gorgeous book that’s packed with Southern Italian flavors.
Domenico Ottaviano is the young and talented chef of Al Trabucco da Mimì, a family restaurant in Peschici he co-owns with his twin brother Vincenzo. Trabucchi are one of the Adriatic Sea’s most peculiar fishing “machines”. Trabucchi are typical of Abruzzo and the Gargano coast in Puglia (the “stirrup” of the boot) where they are protected as historical monuments. The massive construction is built from wood and consists of a platform anchored to the rock by large pine wood logs jutting out into the sea, from where two (or more) long arms, locally called antennae, stretch out suspended several feet above the water surface. The antennae support a huge, narrow-meshed net called trabocchetto.
Domenico and Vincenzo’s ancestors been building trabucchi fishing platforms all along the Gargano coast since the 1920s. The one below, that now houses the restaurant was built by their grandfather Mimì.
Here patrons line up, order their food from the freshly caught offers scribbled on the chalkboard and sit at a seaside table in summer, or in the cozy indoor dining room in winter.
Between foragina “arugula of the sea” on the rocky beaches of Salento, and cooking in the Al Trabucco da Mimì kitchen, Domenico wrote and published the book “Polpo e Spada”, released in dual language with the English title Catch of the Day, Recipes and Culinary Adventures in Southern Italy. Forty-five creative recipes inspired by the traditional cuisine of Puglia, Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia, Campania, Abruzzo and Molise, all added with Domenico’s personal and modern touch. The gorgeous images are by Maurizio Rellini, the illustrations are by Monica Parussolo.
Sicily meets Puglia in the arancine with potatoes and mussels; other dishes featured in the book include cicatelli pasta with lupini clams and glasswort, murici mollusks with oyster mushrooms on cauliflower puree, and cripsy octopus tentacles, spicy carrots and creamed cicerchie legumes…
Octopus, swordfish, tuna, bluefish, assorted small fish for frying or used in soup, red prawns, shrimp and clams all feature prominently in the seafood cuisine of Southern Italy, served up in uniquely delicious dishes with authentic Mediterranean flavors. Catch of the Day also offers a rich and detailed understanding of traditional fishing techniques and Italian seafaring culture, while sharing insight on centuries-old methods, which have now sadly disappeared, including knowledge on the different fish and seafood species.
For those of you who, like me, will be celebrating the holidays with copious amounts of fish and seafood, this book will come in very handy, or prove to be the perfect gift idea.
Click here to purchase your bilingual Italian – English copy. This endorsement is not sponsored.
Images © Gianni Ferramosca www.foodink.it – Maurizio Rellini
Eleonora Baldwin is a TV host, journalist, and culinary connoisseur based in Rome, Italy. Her writing appears in several food and travel publications. Her show “ABCheese” is broadcast on Italian food network Gambero Rosso. She loves guiding culturally curious, food-passionate travellers seeking experiences in Italy beyond the guidebook.