GARUM WATCH! Ancient underwater discovery

Sometimes I have written of the joys of garum.

The ancient Romans loved to slather their foods, and add as a cooking ingredient, wondrous garum. Garum is a fermented fish sauce, highly attested in ancient literature, the preparation of which is even described by Pliny. It is closely analogous to modern Vietnamese fish sauce and also, perhaps more so, to modern S. Italian colatura. (I’ve had colatura on my wish list periodically… thanks readers, especially FGZ!)

Today a reader sent an article [HERE] about the underwater archaeological dig of ancient Neapolis off the coast of North Africa. It seems to have been destroyed in a massive earthquake and tsunami on 21 July 365.

Good weather has helped them with new finds, including massive garum tanks, suggesting that Neapolis, like Pompeii, was a major producer of the stuff.

Garum  and its counterpart liquamen was the ketchup of the ancient world.  Keep in mind that sauces which Europeans made and also brought back from the Far East, were fish based.  Even today, famous steak sauces are fish based, anchovy.

If you want a tasty light lunch, try this.

First, GET SOME COLATURA:  US HERE – UK HERE (there are several varieties with varying prices)

  • in a large bowl put finely minced garlic, a few tablespoons of colatura, and pepperoncino and a dab of olive oil
  • cook and then cool in cold water, thin spaghetti, even the so-called “angel hair” – DRAIN WELL, even tossing paper towels through it
  • add to the macerating garlic and colatura, mixing well.
  • garnish with parsley (flat leaf is best) you chopped just before serving

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Julia_Augusta says:

    How does colatura differ in taste from Vietnamese fish sauce?

  2. jaykay says:

    Oh dear, I misread the title as “Ancient underwear discovery”. However. Anyway, Being a fan of all culinary things fish-related I must ask my Italian (Romano, da Trastevere) bro-in-law about Colatura. I hadn’t heard of it… and rather typically misread it as “coloratura”. Thanks for the recipe, Father. I’ll share that with him. We all lurves our fishies, we does, yessss, my preciouses.

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    Whew. For a second there I thought this post was titled: Gollum Watch!

    Anyway, nice video. Scuba diving and Mediterranean cuisine- two more things that prove God really loves us.

    p.s. Go Cubs.

  4. Semper Gumby says:

    jaykay: Just read your comment, excellent. Still on my first cup of joe, no idea why my noggin defaulted to Tolkien while reading the post title.

    “We all lurves our fishies, we does, yessss, my preciouses.” Thanks for the chuckle.

  5. Mike says:

    I’ll be in Rome next week — any suggestions for eateries where one might find exemplary use of colatura?

    [In Rome? Not really. This is more of a S. Italian thing.]

  6. teomatteo says:

    kinda reminds me of my father’s bagna cauda.

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