From the New York Times: Net Worth.
At sunset on a clear June evening, Andrea Fariello steered his small boat to a chosen location two miles from shore. By day Fariello — tall, with rough, sun-stained skin, an unkempt beard and a few blackened teeth from years of smoking — tends his bar along the main strip of Marina di Pisciotta, a sleepy village about 70 miles south of Italy’s Amalfi coast. At night he is one of Marina di Pisciotta’s anchovy fishermen. What sets him apart from the other anchovy fishermen along the Mediterranean coast is that he is among the few who still use the menaica, a net dating to the ancient Romans.
After World War II, most anchovy fishermen retired the menaica (pronounced ma-NIGH-ica) for the cianciola — a closed net that catches more fish, faster. In theory the modern nets are more efficient, but in practice they have significantly lowered the anchovy population and, in a sense, affected the flavor of the fish themselves. With the cianciola (pronounced chan-CHO-la), anchovies of all sizes are pulled from the water and slowly suffocate. Those caught in the menaica struggle and bleed after becoming trapped in the net’s mesh. To detach them, fishermen twist off their heads. It is believed that this immediate bleeding improves the anchovy’s flavor and texture. With anchovies caught in modern nets, it may be hours before a factory worker removes their heads for salting. In that time, the blood can make the flesh taste stale. Or, as Harold McGee, the food scientist and author of "On Food and Cooking," explained: "The iron in the hemoglobin reacts with fats and oils, producing stale, rancid flavor notes. Fish oils are especially vulnerable to this." Thanks to the immediate loss of blood, the flesh of the menaica anchovy is pink and firm and tastes like a fine cured meat, which is why it costs up to five times the price of other salted anchovies and is considered the prosciutto di Parma of the sea. [continue]
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