Venice is one of the world’s most famous cities. It is a magical and unique place, steeped in history and beauty. St Mark’s Square, the lagoon, the gondolas, the Grand Canal, everything in this charming city is sure to leave you speechless. Including “cicchetti”, of course.
These snacks, which are served at any time of day, along with a glass of wine while having a chat with the owner of the “bacaro” (a type of osteria), are a true Venetian culinary tradition.
Think of “bacari” as the ancestors of fast food establishments, simple and somewhat spartan: here, you can stop to grab a quick bite or even just to relax between visiting an art exhibition and going for a stroll through the “calli”, the alleys of Venice.
From historical recipes such as “sarde in saor” (fried sardines, seasoned with sweet and sour onions), scallops, “crostini” (toasted bread) with salt cod or squid skewers, to creative dishes made with local ingredients, sampling as many as you can is practically a must for anyone visiting the city for the first time.
Andrea’s fish starters are inspired by these simple yet tasty delicacies: fresh and flavourful ingredients, different cooking methods, an original presentation, inspiration and imagination, to be eaten in a single bite.
First of all, clean the scallops carefully: take the mollusc out of the shell, remove the hazelnut-coloured fringe, and then wash the “nut” (the white muscle) and the “coral” (the orange part) under running water. Wash the shells too and set them aside. Finely chop the parsley and mix it in with the breadcrumbs, Grana Padano cheese and chopped garlic in a bowl, then add a pinch of salt and pepper.
Line out the scallops in their shells on a baking tray, slightly spaced apart, and sprinkle the breadcrumbs with parsley over each one. Add a knob of butter and a drizzle of oil on each mollusc.
Preheat the oven on grill setting to 200 °C and cook for 3 minutes or until golden brown.
Take the scallops au gratin out of the oven and serve immediately.
Cut off the heads of the sardines and clean them, then wash them, pat them dry and flour them. For best results, quickly shake off any excess flour and fry in peanut oil at 180 °C for about 30 seconds until golden brown. Allow to drain on paper towels and add salt immediately.
White onions are traditionally used, but in this case I suggest using red ones to add colour to the dish. Peel the onions and chop them into thin slices. Cook them in a pan for a few minutes in oil, add the vinegar, salt and bay leaf, and then the pine nuts and sultanas. Cook until the water is absorbed and the onions are done.
As a last step, place the sardines in an oven dish and season with onion and marinating liquid. Continue alternating the two ingredients, making sure to put the onions on top.
The sardines need to rest for a day in the refrigerator before they can be eaten, preferably at room temperature: this is the secret of saór (“flavour” in Venetian dialect), which is made with vinegar, onions, pine nuts and sultanas, and was originally used by Venetian fishermen and sailors to preserve sardines on their boats.
Clean and fillet the fish without removing the skin. Season with salt and pepper on the fleshy side and dry with a paper towel.
Pour the aromatic oil into a pan, making sure to cover all the fresh herbs and crushed garlic cloves in olive oil (if the pan is large enough to hold the whole fish, you will need to use less oil).
Cut the fillets into diagonal slices (choose the size you prefer) and lay them out in the pan, adding a drizzle of oil. Turn up the heat and bring almost to a boil, using a spoon to check that the fillets are always covered with the flavoured oil or, alternatively, by turning them over.
It is a gentle and delicate way of cooking them, but make sure you don’t overcook them or they will become chewy. As soon as you see that the fillets are starting to cook and brown, turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Leave to rest for 2 minutes (the amount of time also depends on how thick the fish is and how big the pieces are).
To check if they are cooked, try cutting a piece in half: it should be very soft. If they are still transparent and raw inside, turn up the heat again and continue as before, allowing them to rest with the lid on for a little longer.
We serve it with radish salad, making sure to slice the radishes very thinly: we absolutely love this pairing.
Gut the sole and remove the top layer of skin. Dry it well with a paper towel, then add salt and pepper.
To prepare the dressing, put some chopped parsley, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and a clove of garlic (cut in two) in a small bowl and leave it to flavour for a few minutes: thanks to the lemon, the dressing should have a fresh and slightly sour taste.
Grease with olive oil and cook on a pre-heated grill for about 2 minutes on each side or until done.
Once cooked, fillet the sole and dress with the flavoured oil.
Enjoy experimenting with different cooking methods thanks to the accessories available for our household appliances, and make the most of our range cookers, ovens, or built-in gas and induction hobs.