Calabrian sardella: all about the "Calabrian caviar"

Calabrian sardella, also known as rosamarina or Calabrian caviar, is a sauce made with fish and hot pepper. A seafood variant of the famous nduja, the Calabrian spreadable salami known throughout the world for its unmistakable spicy flavour. But let's find out more about the history of this tasty fish preserve, its characteristics are and how it is prepared.

History and origins of Calabrian sardella

The sardella origins are uncertain, although many say it is a reinterpretation of Garum, a fish-based sauce consumed by the ancient Romans. However, sardella is prepared with different ingredients and the preparation time is much shorter. It can be kept for a long time, even outside the fridge, as it is a preparation with hot chilli pepper and salt.

Characteristics of Calabrian sardella

Sardella is a typical fish preserve of Calabria, in particular of the province of Crotone and Cosenza. The preparation is simple, but requires a certain manual skill and a careful selection of raw materials. Its paternity belongs to Crucoli, a village in the province of Crotone, but it is also produced in Cirò Marina and Trebisacce.

Which fish to use?

Since fishing for anchovies and baby sardines was banned (2006), the original recipe has become illegal. In commerce you can find sardella prepared with icy fish, used as a substitute for the classic bianchetto.

How to use Calabrian sardella in the kitchen

Sardella can be used to season and flavour various dishes. It can be spread on croutons or bruschetta, adding thinly sliced Tropea onion. It is also an excellent condiment for pasta, especially spaghetti, it can be used as a condiment for pizza and added to the classic omelette, to make it more tasty.