Musciame


Italian tuna-fish musciame (“musciame di tonno”) – Christine Zilka CC BY 2.0

Musciame or mosciame is a traditional Italian preserved meat made from the salted and sun-dried flesh of dolphins. It is black and looks like a piece of charred wood hanging from a string.

The sailors and fishers of Liguria and Versilia made it; under European law, it may no longer be legally produced or sold.  A somewhat similar product in Sicily made from fillet of tuna often sold as “mosciame di tonno,” is essentially the same as the mojama de atún of Spain.

Dolphin musciame may be substituted with similar food, musciame di tonno, made from fillet of tuna. In the summer months, it is prepared by salting strips of tuna fillet from the large conical muscle known as bodano, which are then sun-dried, smoked, or – more often – dried in a warm oven.

Musciame was a basic element of Ligurian seamen’s diet, who ate it with the ship’s biscuit softened with sea-water and vinegar, accompanied by vegetables. It is eaten very thinly sliced; it may be seasoned with olive oil, or served on tomato slices, or accompanied by boiled beans and onion. If the meat is particularly hard, it may need to be softened by soaking in cold water for a few hours.

Regional Recipe from Liguria, Sicily, and Sardinia