Fished during Fall and Winter on the rocky seabed of the Aeolian Islands, the Sicilian Sugarello is the plumpest and juiciest wild tinned fish we have ever tasted. These horse mackerels, known locally as "sauro tunnu", were historically relegated to the fishermen's table because of the incredibly labor-intensive deboning process. Today, we can rightfully say they're one of the real hidden gems of the Sicilian seas. These compact and glossy Sugarello fillets have a luscious, velvety texture and a meaty, rich flavor without any bitterness or metallic aftertaste.
Sugarello is referred to as "the fish of memory" by the Testa family: it is the one they would eat after long hours at sea, simply grilled and drizzled with olive oil. With this sustainable, wild horse mackerel preserved in EVOO, the Testas elevate their family recipe for canned fish. Never boiled nor frozen, the fresh Sugarello is simply steamed to fully maintain its flavor, aromas, texture, and nutritional properties. Once in the jar, the fillets are preserved in a precious and delicate Sicilian organic extra virgin olive oil. Over time, not only will the EVOO not alter the flavor of the fish, but it'll be enriched by it. Use these fillets for a fish pasta sauce, in a salad with beans and pickled onions, or simply eat them straight out of the jar with some lemon juice. And don't throw the oil away! This is extra flavorful Sicilian extra virgin olive oil that will enrich all your cooking projects: make a soffritto, brush your vegetables before baking, or make a killer mayo.
For Pippo, Nino, Tuccio, and Giuseppe Testa, having a small-scale, mindful, and artisanal fishing operation means carefully following the marine life cycle, constantly looking after the size class of their catch, and working with scientists to minimize their environmental impact. Their relationship with the sea is founded upon respect and knowledge rather than exploitation.
By adopting virtuous practices both onboard and ashore, their first goal is to protect and preserve the sea. With their boats, they fish the healthiest sgombri, acciughe, and sugarelli that the Mediterranean Sea has to offer and process them within 24 hours from the moment they’re caught. Their operations are traceable and transparent, so when you get a jar of wild fish preserved in EVOO by Testa Conserve, you are getting to taste what pursuing the highest quality of tinned fish means to them. And yes, it's going to taste great!