Landlocked and nestled between Romania and Ukraine, Moldova is a country with a rich agricultural tradition. While it might not have a coastline, its rivers and lakes provide a bounty of freshwater fish that have inspired a range of traditional dishes. Let’s embark on a culinary journey, exploring the fish delicacies that are uniquely Moldovan.
Zeamă de Pește (Fish Soup)
A staple in many Moldovan households, Zeamă de Pește is a hearty fish soup that captures the essence of the country’s culinary simplicity. Typically made with freshwater fish like carp or catfish, the soup is seasoned with onions, carrots, and a medley of herbs. Often, a dollop of sour cream is added before serving, enhancing the soup’s richness.
Pește în Saramură (Brined Fish)
This traditional method of preparing fish involves a brining process that infuses the fish with a unique flavor. After being seasoned, the fish is left to marinate in a brine solution before being grilled or baked. The result is a moist, flavorful dish that pairs perfectly with Moldova’s famous wines.
Plăcintă cu Pește (Fish Pie)
Plăcintă, a type of pie, is a beloved dish in Moldova. While it can be filled with various ingredients, the fish version is particularly delectable. Flaky pastry encases a filling of fish, onions, and spices, creating a savory treat that’s perfect for any occasion.
Pește cu Mămăligă (Fish with Polenta)
Mămăligă, or polenta, is a staple in Moldovan cuisine. When paired with fish, it becomes a comforting and hearty meal. The fish, often grilled or pan-fried, is served atop a bed of creamy mămăligă, and sometimes accompanied by a garlic sauce or pickled vegetables.
Pește Marinat (Marinated Fish)
Drawing inspiration from neighboring cuisines, marinated fish is a popular appetizer in Moldova. Freshwater fish is cured in a mixture of vinegar, water, and aromatic spices, resulting in a dish that’s both tangy and savory. It’s an ideal start to a traditional Moldovan feast.
Moldova’s fish dishes, while perhaps less renowned than its wines or meat dishes, offer a delightful insight into the country’s culinary heritage. From the comforting embrace of Zeamă de Pește to the savory delights of Plăcintă cu Pește, Moldovan fish cuisine is a testament to the country’s ability to transform simple ingredients into flavorful masterpieces. For those keen to explore the culinary gems of Eastern Europe, Moldova’s fish dishes provide a delectable starting point.