Colatura di Alici or Italian, Anchovy, Fish Sauce



(photo: note the wonderful golden brown color of the Colatura di Alici)

What takes 12 months to age and is extracted during an age old curing process, hint it’s not a pork product (cue the Jeopardy music).  The answer is Colatura di Alici or anchovy syrup and is produced by Ittica Alimentare Salerno, located in the small village of Cetara, south of Naples, on the Amalfi coast.  Note, not all anchovy sauces or syrups age for 12 months; in fact, most only age about 6 months.  

Colatura di Alici is essentially an Italian fish sauce, though much richer and aromatic than typical Asian fish sauces, that is made by capturing anchovy juice during the curing process (there are no additives or preservatives, though salt is present given the curing process).  Colatura di Alici is Italy’s answer to umami.

In Italy, most Italians mix a bit of Colatura with extra virgin olive oil, some finely diced garlic, freshly chopped parsley and mix it with pasta (usually spaghetti or linguine fine).  The super- mogul, Lidia Bastianich (because once in America we all need to make wads of money), uses Colatura instead of oil on sliced tomatoes and as an accent for sauces.   I use Colatura in a variation of pasta alio e olio and also add it to my cauliflower and pasta recipe.  I also add it to my chicken dripping pan sauce whenever I roast a chicken.  
Colatura is very salty and should be used sparingly.  It’s watery in consistency and has a beautiful golden brown color.  The fragrance will probably not be pleasant to North American noses, but hey it’s the juice that drains out of anchovies salted in a barrel.  Try it and it will become a staple of your Italian pantry.  

(photo: beautiful packaging in the Colatura di Alici)


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