Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A fish by any other name

My last post about orata and its ugly english name got me thinking about fish names and their translations in english.  Here in the Riviera, we get a bounty of fish that I have never before encountered, in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Salmon and tuna are old news.  Here, you'll find pink fish with flowing fins called gallinella, flat square fish that go by the appropriate name rombo, and my personal favorite, cicale, or the noble sea grasshopper.
Here are a few of the fish and shellfish you'll find swimming in the sea and onto your plate, and their names in English - these are the more obscure ones that confounded me at first.  Obviously, the simple ones you can find easily in any language book (i.e. vongole=clams), but these are frequent guest stars on the menu in the restaurant:

gallinella: tub gurnard*
cicale: sea grasshopper
ricciola: amberjack
dentice: dentex
calamari: squid
polpo: octopus
seppie: cuttlefish
lampuga: mahi mahi
rombo: turbot
ippoglosso: halibut
platessa: plaice
pesce spada: swordfish
acciuga: anchovy
cernia: grouper
triglia: red mullet
palamita: bonito
sogliola: sole
scorfano: scorpion fish
pescatrice: monkfish
nasello: herring hake or european hake

*ugliest fish name ever

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