- On 25 May 2020
- In Food of Sicily
The Palamita fish. The blue fish of the Sicilian Sea
Palamita is a fish, very similar to a small tuna. It is long and flat on the flanks, it is about 50 – 80 cm /20 -32 inches maybe more, a silvery colour and it weighs up to 10 kg / 20 pounds. Red tuna can weigh up to 500 kg / 11.000 pounds. It belongs to the Scombroid family, the same one of the famous red tuna and mackerel, but due to its size and shape, it is considered to be a sort of cousin of the red tuna. The flavour of the meat is definitely more similar to red tuna, in fact Palamita can be even marinated, as red tuna, and is delicious. Mackerel meat is too strong a flavour to be eaten raw or marinated
In Sicily it is called Palamitu in sicilian dialects, it is a sort of cousin of the mediterranean red tuna, but definitely smaller.
It’s a migratory species, very famous since ancient times: It’s told that much of the wealth of Byzantium, today’s Istanbul, derived from these fish. For this reason it was depicted on the coins of the time. Currently the Palamita lives in many seas and oceans, from the Mediterranean and Black sea to Argentina and Brasil. Best way to buy it? Local fisher and Mediterranean quality is definitely one of the best. Taking a walk in a market of Palermo or many other cities of Sicily, it is very easy to see some of them, especially in the summer, Palamitu season.
The great advantage of this fish is the price as well. It is generally vey cheap, about € 7 – € 10 for 1 kg / 2 pounds. It can be cooked in many way: grilled, baked or in a pan with some cherry tomatoes, why not? Calorific and rich of the best fats, Palamitu contains a lot of omega 3, food for the brain so it feeds 2 organs, stomach and mind. Being a fat fish, it can be cleaned by fish vendors and sold in small tranches ready to be grill or fried, or baked with some fresh cherry tomato from Pachino, the best production area of Sicily. So if you are in Sicily in spring time, don’t miss the opportunity to taste a special fish like Palamito, tasty, nutritious and cheap. Look for it in the menù of a traditional restaurant or buy it fresh at the fish vendors if you can cook.