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SARAGHINA is a particular kind of fish not to be confused with anchovies or sardines. It is an oily fish typical of the northern Adriatic Sea, but it is extremely rare in the other areas of the Mediterranean Sea. Once discarded by salesmen, who preferred anchovies and sardines, today it has been reconsidered by top chefs. It is called a “poor fish” due to its low price, but has a high nutritional value and is usually characterised by a greater sustainability.

Saraghina fish are bigger than sardines but smaller than anchovies. They have an elongated shape with a slightly zig-zagged ventral profile. The back is light-blue or bluish, while stomach and sides are silver. It usually is no longer than 17 centimetres.

It is a kind of fish rich in protein, fatty acids, omega 3 and vitamin B12. It is also very rich in lysine, an amino acid not much present in pasta or bread, that makes the “saraghina and piadina” combo an extremely tasty and complete meal.

Once, saraghina was particularly abundant at the beginning of November – it was fished in large quantities and preserved in salt. The best period for its meat is spring, though, from March to the end of April.

Saraghina is usually grilled, breaded and cooked in the oven or marinated, but it is suitable to both traditional recipes and modern principles of the Mediterranean diet. It is a perfect ingredient for delicious bruschettas or tasty appetizers and can be used for the dressing of first or second courses and salads as well.

Saraghina, a simple and nutritious kind of fish, is a symbol of the culinary culture of Ravenna and Romagna. It is also mentioned by Federico Fellini, who called Saraghina one of the characters of his 1963 movie 8 1/2.

A cura della Redazione Locale.

Ultima modifica: 6 December 2022


Oily fish

The general denomination “oily fish” includes various kinds of fish that are usually small, of different shapes, silver-coloured and much present in the waters off the Ravenna coastline.

The most fished kinds of oily fish are: sardines, generally preserved in oil and is very good in May and June; anchovies, very good in January and February and which must be eaten fresh, fried or pickled; saraghina, sold fresh or in salt, breaded and cooked in the oven, fished especially from April to July; big-scale sand smelts, coming from the “padelloni” – the fishing cabins on the watercourses leading to the sea – floured and fried in vegetable oil, very tasty in autumn; and mackerels, living in great depth, fished at the beginning of summer and very good in May, June and September.