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Smoked eel from Orbetello

Meat and fish

An old way of preparing fish from the lagoon that dates to the 16th-century Spanish dominion

Smoked eel is a traditional dish from Orbetello that fishermen have prepared for centuries according to an old recipe that dates to the time of Spanish rule in the Argentario area in the 16th century. The eel is smoked, marinated and served with a traditional bell pepper (known as “pimento”) sauce. You can find it on menus as “anguilla sfumata”.

The Orbetello lagoon is full of fish, especially eels, which are marinated for at least a couple of days.

The fresh fish are opened, cleaned and bathed in vinegar for three hours, left to dry in the sun and served with a sauce made from red bell peppers, vinegar, salt and chillis before being smoked over straw and wood shavings.

The eels are fished all year round. In the winter, the fishermen use fixed structures, called “Tesi”, which block the movement of the eels, from the coast to the middle of the lagoon, forcing them to swim into the martavelli (or traps). In the summer, they use “crocioni”, moveable structures at points chosen by the fisherman, taking into consideration the weather conditions in the lagoon.

The eels are also perfect for making a spaghetti sauce.