A specialty of Cetara on the Amalfi Coast is a centuries' old tradition of fish preservation, and the results are delicious. Cetara is a old fishing village between Vietri Sul Mare and Amalfi, where anchovy fish are a prized commodity.
The fish are caught only in the Gulf of Salerno and thanks to unique conditions of climate, water, and cyclical life cycle of the anchovies, have a lower fat content that are ideal for preserving in salt, just as it has been done for centuries. The fresh fish are cleaned immediately when they reach shore and layered in sea salt in special wooden buckets called "terzigni". A hole drilled in the bottom allows the liquid to drain off and it is collected and used separately. It is this juice that is colatura, and it is a delicacy that is used on pasta or drizzled onto many things, including potatoes, cheese, or anything that the cook wants to give a little extra "something". The fish is left in the salt to cure for 4 to 5 months; since the fishing season runs from April to July or August, the curing process ends conveniently at Christmas time. No celebration in Cetara is complete without the fresh colatura on spaghetti and the just-ready fish adorning antipasti plates for the Christmas Eve meal.
Try colatura when you're on the Amalfi Coast. It is an amber colored liquid, salty and briny and lightly anchovy flavored, not overpowering at all, and a surprise burst of flavor.
If you have searched the web looking for activities to do while vacationing on the Amalfi Coast, there is no doubt that you have already read about Mamma Agata and her incredible cooking school in Ravello.
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Its unique and special characteristics, very much appreciated even abroad, gives the name to "Fico Bianco del Cilento": once dried, the sweet peel gets light yellow coloured rather than chestnut brown if oven-cooked.