I wrote in a previous post that my dad attended university both in Florence and in Venice; because of this he learnt to master the cooking of these two magic places.
The warmth of the places, their voices, a mix of beauty and enthusiasm, the all of this makes me come back in Venice with Francesca no less than once a year. We use to go at the the 8am sunday Mass in San Marco, then have a long walk – if not high water, of course – to Sant’ Elena and back, or a trip in Giudecca for an exhibition in the adjacent Fondazione Cini.
Everywhere on the italian coastal side you can taste an incredible fish soup, but the choice is almost countless. In Venice you have “broeto de pesse”: local fish varieties I won’t even try to translate for you (they’re all in strict dialect!) such as bodega, schie, scarpene, go’, coa de rospo (monkfish)… of course a few kilometers away the inspiration is the same but the final outcome… 100% different!”Sarde in saor”: fried sardines with a sweet and sour sauce (onion, vinegar, laurel, sugar, black pepper)… depending on the places in Italy it is also named scapece, scabeccio, carpione (the spanish equivalent is escabeche).
“Baccala mantecato“: starting from salted stockfish (desalinated, steamed and reduced to paste with generous olive oil) you make a kind of a fish cream to be spread on charcoal fired polenta or bread slices… as you make the picture wider you can range from ligurian brandacujun to the brandade de morue as well…but, don’t forget, devil is in the details (from thyme leaves to double cream!).
I thought I was done for this post but I am not: sepie co’l pien (stuffed squids) are an italian masterpiece (once again, depending on the place the filling may range from ricotta cheese to pork meat paste…)… in Venice we are with bread crumbs (after a rest in milk to soften for a while), onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, egg, grated parmesan cheese, a splash of wine wine and a fresh tomato sauce…
Pictures by myself in Venice, Riccardo Rama de Tisi