It may not be nice to look at, but the grass goby fish is a typical traditional Venetian first course (especially in Burano). After boiling for 25 minutes, it is removed and squeezed in a cloth, and the juice extracted is added to the broth, which is boiled until it becomes a concentrate, to which other fish stock is added...
The sardines are of the smaller variety and are either cooked Greek style, with vinegar, or in tomato sauce with capers. There is also the recipe mentioned by Goldoni in his book “Servant of Two Masters” from 1746, featuring sardines prepared with candied citron (imported from Asia), raisins and pine nuts.
As you can see from their price, Moeche are a very special dish. Moeche are crabs at the change of season, when they moult and shed their shells, remaining without a shell for only 6 hours. The brackish water helps the new shell to recalcify, but this is where the moecante, a trade dating back to the 14-15th century in Burano and Chioggia, comes in. The moecante, of whom very few remain, has the task of knowing when the crabs will moult and must ready to catch them and place them in fresh water, so that the shells do not reform. This is why they are so expensive; it is a small miracle. An interesting fact is that they are also very popular in China and, with the recent increase in Venice’s Chinese population, new recipes have appeared (soft-shell crab).
Here is Marco (my faithful guide, son of Venetian restaurateurs) with a glass of wine and his cousin, who has graciously welcomed us to his “bacaro”. A bacaro (from Bacchus or ‘bacarà’- a racket or party) is a small restaurant where you can drink wine (or now even spritz) and eat a small snack, strictly while standing.
An "ombra de vin" is a tiny glass of wine drunk when it’s time for an aperitif, which for a Venetian can be any time. If you are lucky, you can even find them for one euro each.
It is said that in ancient times, wine was served in Piazza San Marco like sun hats are now sold. The sellers protected themselves from the sun and made sure that the wine remained cool by keeping it in the shadow of the bell tower, hence the name “ombra”.
Here we opted for a plate of raw seafood! There are also main courses: Venetian liver (beef with onion), small lagoon duck, moeche (soft-shell crabs) fried with eggs...
Here is a classic traditional dish from Veneto, more typical in the Vicenza area, but the stockfish is worth trying.
(stock = stick and visch = fish), or fish dried on a stick.
It is said to have been imported from the northern seas in around the 15th century by the merchant Pietro Querini.
Dried cod, or stockfish, should be rehydrated for 3 days in running water. It can be boiled or steamed, adding vegetable oil, salt and a little garlic. Those who like it creamier can add milk.