In Italian, the name pesce povero (literally poor fish) refers to a group of fish that has not been defined scientifically, but that is the result of local popular and commercial traditions. In fact, these fish were originally left over after a catch and were more difficult to sell –despite the cheaper price– and were often taken home at the end of the day by the fisherman himself.
The price of the poor fish (also called pesce azzurro or light-blue fish) is still today more affordable than other more renowned species… but this is simply because there is a low demand for them!
The truth is, as many gastronomic experts confirm, that these fish can taste just as good as the more famous species, and are even healthier as they are richer in omega3 and lower in fat.
A number of local fishermen and food associations are trying to spread the word about the nutritional properties and excellent quality-price ratio of the blue fish, in an effort not only to educate the consumers about stereotypes but also to promote typical sea traditions and sustain small fishing businesses.
An example of these gastronomic initiatives is the Pesce di Maremma project in southern Tuscany, launched within the Green & Blue Economy framework aimed at making this region’s land and sea ever more sustainable.
The concept of seasonality’ is being promoted to make sure that different species found in the Maremma sea and lagoon systems are fished in a sustainable way. The project also organizes cooking shows where Chefs specialized in local cuisine share their knowledge both in theory and in practice with apprentice chefs or the general public.
Upcoming events include 3 workshops across the Maremma starring local expert chefs and apprentices, with the aim to explore different ways of preparing the fish. These will take place on the 14th of October in the Antica Fattoria del Grottaione (Montenero d’Orcia); on the 22nd of October in the Argentario Resort (Porto Ercole); and on the 28th of October in the Osteria Pacianca (Follonica).
Do you recognize any of the ‘poor fish’ portrayed in the images?
Source for texts and images: www.dimaremma.it