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The Sicilian and Calabrian word for novellame or bianchetti simply means 'newborn'. Elsewhere in Sicily they are called u muccu or avannotti degli Engraulis.

The most popular way to serve these baby anchovies and sardines in Sicily is as polpette di neonata, mixed with egg and parsley and then fried until golden.

In Calabria, neonati or rosamarina (red mullet spawn) are made into sardella, used on pizza, pasta, or spread on bruschetta with tomatoes and onions; sometimes it's sold as neonata sauce.

Neonati di seppie (baby squid) are also used flavour rice or pasta, and are sometimes confused with seppiole although they are a distinct species

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Flavia Brandi