Mar
2007

TARANTELLO

Tarantello is a specialty product from the Apulia region of Italy. Essentially, it is salted, preserved tuna belly that is cured and dried.


While tarantello looks and feels slightly similar to Bottarga (dried tuna roe), the former is actually meat from the back abdominal muscles of the tuna.


To cure the tuna, fresh fillets are cured in sea salt and hung in the sun to dry. The constant light winds in the region are key to assuring that the fillets are thoroughly dry. As they are cured in the sun, the loins shrink and darken until they are a reddish brown with a subtle flavor.


To enjoy this ocean delicacy slice it very thinly and drizzle with olive oil. It should have a deep, briney flavor and a firm but tender texture.


Many people eat tarantello thinly sliced on crusty bread, sprinkled with a fine extra virgin olive oil, so as not to compete with the flavor of the tuna.


A particularly nice way to enjoy tarantello is to slice it very thinly and marinade the slices in olive oil for about an hour. Serve with freshly toasted almonds and a light fruity wine. Yields 20 to 30 slices per piece.