merca

mullets preserved in marsh samphire

Sa merca, or merka, is a way of preserving fish that goes back to the ancient Phoenicians, The mullets are caught from May to September in the lagoon of Cabras, near Oristano, by fishermen who wade in and surround them with a big net. The filets are boiled in salted water and wrapped in zibba, the marsh samphire that grows all around the lagoons, which preserves them for 25 days.

Other mullets are smoked (su pisci affumau), while the roe becomes the much prized bottarga.

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