The seafood of Italy

When people think of Italian food, they normally visualise pasta, prosciutto and pizza. While these are all the foundations of Italian cuisine, most people don’t realise how many Italian dishes are based on seafood and fish. Here we look at some of the incredible seafood that forms an important part of Italian cooking:


Anchovy – We’re all familiar with anchovies on pizza and these tiny fish are prepared in a number of ways in Italian cooking. They can be deep fried, raw or grilled and served as an appetizer or in sauces.

Seabass – These delicious fish are often served whole, roasted or grilled with herbs, olive oil and potatoes.

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Grouper – These are one of the tastiest fishes in the Mediterranean and traditionally served whole like seabass.

Dentex – You might be unfamiliar with this species, but it is loved in Italy for its rich and deeply flavoured flesh. It can be roasted whole or presented in a simple tomato-based sauce.

Atlantic Cod – Although not found in the Mediterranean, the Italians do love their cod. It is consumed fresh and dried, known as stoccafisso or in salt, known as baccala. It is also sometimes served creamed and spread onto rustic Italian bread. Delicious!

Swordfish – These are normally served as steaks and are grilled with olive oil, capers, herbs and tomatoes.

Sole – This fish is more often served as a family meal at home than in restaurants. It is often given to children due to its mild flavour and minimal bones.

Trout – Even inland Italy has freshwater trout on the menu, particularly locations next to lakes and rivers. It is served baked or roasted and whole. Hungry? Why not visit an Italian Restaurant Dublin like


Lobster – Mostly the European Lobster is found on menus, although sometimes you will find the more expensive Mediterranean lobster. They are usually served whole and grilled with herbs and olive oil. They can also be cleaned and thrown in with long pasta dishes.

Squid – Calamaro is served in Italy with the body stuffed and baked, then sliced into rings or chopped up for adding to dishes like pasta or risotto. The tentacles can be fried and the ink is used in some risottos and pasta dishes as flavouring.

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Shrimp – In Italian cuisine, shrimp is preferred cooked and unpeeled, so this can be a messy dish! Shrimp comes grilled, fried or tossed in with other seafood and shellfish for a tasty risotto or pasta dish.

Octopus – This is a common and much-loved dish used mainly as an appetizer in Italy. It is served cold with potato salad in many restaurants. It is commonly grilled and can be found mixed in with other seafood and fish in pasta or risotto dishes.


Scallops – Also known as Pilgrim Scallops, these are served in their iconic shells in a herby breadcrumb coating or cream sauce as an appetizer. They can be grilled whole and suitable for flavouring with a whole host of condiments and sauces.

Oysters – You won’t find too many on the menu during the summer as they spoil more easily, but if you’re in a busy tourist area, you will probably find them on some menus all year round.


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