Colatura di Alici is one of Gustiamo’s most extraordinary products - with a storied past. It is produced by drawing off the liquid given off by curing anchovies under salt, and is an easy way to add concentrated umami flavor to a dish without having to rinse, filet and chop the little fish. Richly briny and savory, colatura is more complex and less fishy than Asian-style fish sauce. Mix a teaspoon of colatura with a few tablespoons of olive oil and some crushed garlic, and you’ve got an instant flavorful sauce for spaghetti, potatoes, or sauteed greens like swiss chard, escarole or spinach. Sprinkle a few drops on roasted vegetables, fresh tomatoes, avocado slices, roasted meat, scallops, Caesar salad, and any other dish that could use a quick umami kick! This is the famous Amalfi anchovy sauce.
Colatura di Alici is a convenient condiment with ancient roots. It is believed to be the modern descendant of garum, a Roman fish sauce that dates back at least as far as the third century BC. Garum became a staple of Roman cuisine, and spread throughout the empire; remains of garum production sites were found in Spain, Portugal, and northern Africa. After the collapse of the Roman empire, garum all but disappeared, except in pockets of southwest Italy.
Today, the best quality colatura di alici comes from Cetara, a charming fishing village on the Amalfi coast in Campania, home of our trusted anchovy and colatura producer Nettuno. They catch their anchovies and place them in small chestnut barrels, layered with Sicilian sea salt from Trapani. The lid of the barrel is weighted down by rocks. The anchovies age for about three years. Then, a hole is poked in the bottom of the barrel and the anchovy juice is drained, drop by drop.