One of the most treasured and special ingredients of the Campania region is Colatura di Alici. Its roots date back to a product called Garum, documented as an irreplacable condiment in ancient Roman scribes. The deep brown elixir is extracted during the anchovy curing process. The distillate is rich with the flavors of the sea and the anchovy flavor. Cleaned anchovies are layered with salt in plastic tubs and are left to cure, for around five months. Until recently this ingredient was rarely found in the United States.
One of the traditional dishes of the region is spaghetti with lightly browned garlic, chili flakes, a small splash of colatura, olive oil, parsley, and toasted breadcrumbs. Colatura is also added to the braising liquid for lamb or beef. Try sea bass braised with tomatoes, olives, garlic, parsley, and a splash of colatura. Substitute colatura for anchovy filets in a Caesar salad, again a small splash is all that is needed. Orecchiette with cauliflower, garlic, chilies, raisins, and pine nuts is also enhanced by its magical properties. Try blanched broccoli tossed with extra virgin olive oil, a small splash of colatura, red pepper flakes and toasted garlic.