Nunnata Appetizer <??>    


Fishermen are allowed to catch the nunnata only for a short and limited period of time, usually fifteen days, between February 15 and April 15.  

Nunnata refers to just born sardines, anchovies or mackerel.   

The raw fresh nunnata served as an appetizer with lemon is a gourmet delight; or can be an exceptional condiment for pasta or made as fritters, polpettine and served as as a main dish or as a snack.   

In Brooklyn, where I live, at times the nunnata is available frozen and it is suitable to be boiled and seasoned with parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, and a hint of garlic to make a nice antipasto. 





Against everybody’s recommendation not to wash the nunnata, I advise strongly to delicately wash it to eliminate any residual seaweeds or any sand or foreign articles. Do not wash in running water, but place the nunnata in a basin with cold water and a little at a time, using your hands, transfer into a strainer to drip. Repeat if necessary.   

Place onto a kitchen rag to allow it to dry and refrigerate until ready to use.   

If using frozen nunnata: defrost overnight in the refrigerator, and wash it, following the above directions.    


Nunnata Raw - A Crudo – Cu Limiuni  


Serves 4   

·    1 lb nunnata (washed)  

·    2 tablespoons olive oil   

·    ½   lemon, the juice   

·    Fresh ground black pepper to taste   


Very fresh nunnata must be served for this tasty antipasto. The nunnata is dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, and pepper and presented in small portions.    


Nunnata Boiled - Lessa - Vughiuta  


Serves 4   


·    1 ½ lb nunnata (washed). Frozen can be used   

·    ¼ cup olive oil   

·    1 lemon, the juice   

·    1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley    

·    Sea salt and pepper to taste   


In a medium size bowl, beat together the oil and lemon juice; add the parsley, pepper and a pinch of salt.   

In a 6-quarts sauce pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of water and 1½ teaspoons of sea salt, keep heat to high and add the nunnata, placed in a strainer so as not to disperse in the boiling water. Boil the nunnata for 30 seconds, drain and transfer it into the bowl with the lemon-oil emulsion. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.