Shopping in the butchers or the fishmonger

06/13/2009 - 05:30

I love to cook, and whilst my italian is good enough for basic shopping does anyone out there know all the terms/names when shopping in the butchers or fishmonger.For instance I have a wonderful recipe I want to try for a boned chicken, which also contains some minced veal.  Also can you buy monkfish in Italy ? - what is it called ?Any foodie/Italian language experts out there who can post a list if italian names for  meat and fish, and their preparation i.e. boned, skinned, minced that can help me out to get the ingredients that I need. 


I bought a brilliant book at a jumble sale which had most of this sort of information - unfortunately I've left it at our house in Italy (wher eit will be most use).  It was an AA guide and fairly old (mid 80s) but full of useful info.  I found what I think is an updated version on amazon  I also found another one which looks similar this helpsChris 

Actually Monkfish is Pescatrice ( from Angler Fish). There are several varieties that look like they should be Monkfish but are not.The wonders of a good fish counter/mongrer in Italy are a joy to behold; not like the Cod or Macrel offerings of the UK.

 Actually, there are two names for Monkfish: one is "rospo" and the other one is "rana pescatrice" (full name). In both cases the names originate from the Italian translation of toad or frog. So you were both right. If you are interested in Italian Culinary Terminology, I have just started a "Wiki" under "Il Buongustaio" Circle (Group). Everyone is welcome,  as it is an open group, and it would be great if you could add words to it because it is an enormous task, but I think it would be worthwhile once it is completed.See you there! 

Hi Gala PlacidiaGreat work on setting up the wiki and especially for making it an open group and easy to join immediately (phew thank goodness someone is catching on about how to get the community going )I've added some words and made a suggestion in the comments about adding articles to words - this helps show learners (us) whether the noun is masculine or feminine and helps with all those tricky words ending in -e - it also makes it easier to learn and rememberKevan

Since none of the cuts of meat in my butcher's resemble any of the English cuts, I usually tell the butcher what I want to cook:volevo preparare-Un arrista di maiale - roast porkMacinato per il sugo - mince for pasta saucebrasato - braisedspezzatino - stewla scaloppina - escalope of vealI have found a very good book; Dizionario Gastronomico by Oscar Galeazzi, Ed Hoepli which has translations in all european languages and is small enough to take to the resturant too.Hope this helpsRosietat

I worked with a friend las year to help our local butcher by translating the list of cuts that he had on his wall - I've searched and searched on my computer but can't find the document - i think it was on one of my two laptops that someone stole from my hotel room in Rome in December (still waiting and waiting for the hotel insurance to pay up for them...but that's another story). I'll see if my friend still has a hard copy of it and post it here if I get a result.Kevan

 I have a list of cuts for pork, veal, lamb, etc. which I will have in the "Italian Culinary Terminology" glossary (Wiki) under "Il Buongustaio" Circle (group) but I am still struggling with the alphabetical list. Thanks for your additions, Kevan and please, we could go faster if everyone contributes a couple of words. It is very simple and anyone can edit it. Just press the "Edit" button, add or correct whatever you want and don't forget to save it!!! See you there!

My mother, who llived for a long time in the UK and other English- speaking countries, had great trouble when she came back to Italy in the mid-70s  and found she could not find any of the cuts she had finally got used to in all her years outside Italy. Being a stubborn lass now turned V(very) OAP - she's nearly 90 now -she proceeded to get hold of the butcher in the supermarket and explained to him exactly what cut she needed . "You can't make a decent English roast beef with these silly "arrosto" cuts you expect me to use" was one of her favourite complaints. Now 30 years on, the butcher in her local CONAD, greets her with a cheery "Cosa le serve oggi ,signora? le preparo un rosbif all'inglese?". So her advice would be: get them on your side and they'll be very happy to help.

It is true, Raggio, cuts vary from country to country and I am struggling with the list I have. Some cuts are very similar, such as "girello", which is round steak or filetto (sirloin) but others are different.  

The butcher in my local town is not in the centre but is an "aziendale". Does this mean I can go in and ask for a small amount of meat, or is this a sort of industrial size butchers? I haven't been brave enough to try and end up going to the supermarket but I imagine it would be a much better selection at the butchers. Can anyone advise?Thanks very much :o)

In reply to by strawberrystar

Butchers have definitely better quality meats than supermarkets. Ask your neighbours information on the best butcher. They will probabaly complain that the better butcher is expensive, a good sign.Complete Italian food by Antonio an invaluable guide to Italian food terminology.A friend recently recomended but I have not used it yetUno spaccio aziendale is a factory outlet. I have no idea if this exists in the meat industry. If it is for bulk amounts they will not probably allow you in unless you have a food business.