Sardines are named after Sardinia, not the other way round. The small oily fish were once in abundance, in the seas around the island of Sardinia.
Sardines are also known as pilchards and are a member of herring family Clupeidae. Some people class the fish shorter in length than 15 cm (6 in) to be sardines, and larger fish to be pilchards. Over 21 species of fish are known as a Sardine.
The first known record of ‘sardine’ being used to refer to a type of fish was in England in the early 15th Century. It was initially a French word, devived through Latin and Greek, to indicate the island of Sardinia. The English gave the word an entirely new meaning.
Sardinia is no longer famous for Sardines, nor are they commonly used in the cuisine of the island, but there is a specialty that comes from the sea. Bottarga or Butariga in Sardo is a delicacy of salted, cured fish, typically flathead mullet, usually it is mixed into Spaghetti. Here is a recipe for Spaghetti all Bottarga.
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