If you go down to Mġarr harbour or visit the fishing village of Marsalforn during these weeks, you’re bound to meet fishermen as they prepare to sail out for the lampuki fishing season. The boats of medium or large sizes are laden with the empty crates piled high, and which they hope to fill in with bountiful catches of lampuki. On their return, it’s always a delight to watch the fishermen unload the freshly caught lampuki packed up in ice, glistening in bluish silver tones and still smelling of the sea onto the hawkers’ vans.
Usually, the first catches of lampuki at the end of August announce the end of summer and local fishermen catch this particular fish (known also as dolphin fish) during the autumn months, while it is seasonally migrating to warmer waters. Once it’s in season, lampuki is easily acquired either from the open-air fish market in Victoria or through the several fish hawkers who tour the villages announcing the lampuki catch with their traditional cries.
Most households in Gozo will cook lampuki in various ways. The traditional fish soup (aljotta) and the delicious lampuki pie are both old-time favourite dishes but today we’re looking at one of the most popular and easy methods of cooking lampuki:- fried lampuki with tomato sauce
- Lampuki fish cleaned and chopped up into portion size
- Olive Oil
- Flour and semolina
- Salt and pepper
- For the sauce, you will need fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, black olives, and capers
- Drizzle some olive oil into a deep pan and heat.
- In the meantime, roll the chunks of lampuki in a mixture made up of flour, semolina, and seasoning. Make sure you cover thoroughly.
- Drop the chunks into the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides.
- Now you can start preparing the sauce. In another pan, heat some oil and add the onions and garlic until they are cooked. Add the tomatoes, the tomato paste and season. Simmer the mixture until all is cooked and as a final touch add the olives and capers.
- Serve the lampuki chunks with the sauce and other vegetables or salads of your choice.
Most local restaurants feature lampuki too on their menu. Make sure you ask for this authentic Mediterranean dish especially if you’re dining at one of the fishing villages or Mġarr harbour and we’re quite certain you’ll enjoy the meaty thick bites.