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Venice Recipes and Curiosities
from the Venetian Cuisine

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Testo italiano
Thanks to the forum
"Gastronomia e Ricette".
This recipe collected by Luigi Zanon


 

 

Sievoi Rostii su la Grea

Grilled Mullets

Ingredients:
da bon mullets (with their stomach empty)
minced garlic and parsley
oil
salt and pepper
lemon
white maize porridge, in toasted slices
Modus Operandi

First of all we must be able to select the fishes. After assuring they are fresh, with an usual check observing eyes and gill, we shall exercise pressure with our finger on the fishes´ belly to state if they are da bon, which means with their stomach empty. If some drops of usually greenish mash are discharged through the thin sphincter locate between the tail and the tummy on the fishes´ belly, that item does not fit our purposes, choose another one. If none in a shop, the fisherman fished at the wrong hours, try elsewhere). The stomach must be empty, as the fish is going to be cooked entire, and its entrails are supposed to be the titbit.

The mullets MUST NOT be washed nor scaled, the plates will detach with cooking, while preserving fish skins from carbonizeing in stripes along the grill irons.

The grill itself should be with not too large irons, and must be feeded with charcoal: Let´s light it up and, while it is heating, prepare a mincing of garlic and parsley, that we shall mix in a cup with olive oil, pepper and salt.

When the grill is hot, lay the mullets on it, as they are from the sea. Each of them will be cooked on the first side when it will be easy to detach from the grill, so we´ll turn it and sprinkle a little salt on the cooked face. Cooked on the opposite side as well, put some salt also on the second face.
Take them away from the fire and, once setted in a dish, drip on them the oil mix from the cup

This food can be served hot or cold, but on very warm white maize porridge toasted slices.

For the best degustation of the course, follow these instructions:
Carefully bone one or two fishes, according with portion size, and set the fillets in a table-dish over a couple of hot toasted maize porridge slices.
Now you can ask your eventual guest if he likes to eat the entrails of the fish, called el boton. Whenever (as probable, N.o.E) he would refuse, save them apart to eat them yourself, later in private: they really worth.
Squeeze with spoon and fork against the dish the head of the fishes; then stir the bones and the heads with the juice of a lemon, some olive oil, salt and pepper. Drip the obtained juice on the fillets tilting the dish, paying of course attention to stop fish bones and other solid scraps from dropping on the fillets, with the help of a fork.

Sievoi Rostii su la Grea

Grilled Mullets

The Mullets´ family is the richest in subspecies, between the fish fauna of the Venetian Lagoon.
So we find the causteli, the lotragani, the botoli, the verzelate, the baicoli (quite similar to basses), the batauri, the varioli.
These varieties are distinguishable by the colours of their back´s and belly´s skin, from the more or less flattening of the muzzle, from the tail, from the tightness of the scales, from the head colour.

It is relevant to make sure the mullets are da bon, with their stomach empty; this condition is diffused on the market, as fishes perform almost constant feeding habits, and fishermen are aware of them.
When the water is running with the lowering tide, no fish eats, because the reflowing tide wash away all the dirty from the canals and other garbage. Like in a vein system, the lowering tide is an unoxigenated blood.
So fishes stop eating when the tide goes in balansa co la colma (Venetian to indicate the half-an-hour stop on top of the tide, before starting to lower down) and start again feeding after the half-an-hour stop before the tide rise again. They will eat only in the fresh water coming in from the sea.

Except for the lotragan, that can as well be fryed, the best cooking for all species of mullets is to grill them on charcoal.

The typical Venetian grill used to be a squared earthenware pot to contain the embers, closed on top with a grill of parallel irons at the distance of about one centimeter between each. It was quite small, as destined to be used on windowsills ( be advised that this cooking produces smoke and a very intense aroma, that could not fit the taste of not particularly hungry persons in the neighborhood. This habit was causing quite a lot of squabbles, caused from wind quirks... The use is now nearly disappeared. N.o.E.).

Versione Originale in Veneziano:

El çievolame.

La fameja de i çievoli la xe la più granda che ghe sia.

Intanto no se gà da confondar i çievoli da la boseghe o da i branzini, che xe tuta altra roba.

De quela fameja fa parte i causteli, i lotragani, i botoli, i verzelate, i baicoli (i ghe someja al branzin), i batauri, i varioli.

Se li distingue dal color de la pele su la schiena e su la pansa,, dal muso più o manco schissà, da la coa, da le s-ciame più o manco compate, da el color del testa.

La morte del çievolo, a parte el lotragan che se pol anca frizerlo, la xe su la graela.

Ma no la graela de adesso che la xe sora el gaz, ma la graela de carbonela.

E adesso ve conto come che mi i fassevo co jero in bottega.

So ben che calchedun saltarà fora a contarme che lu li fa in altro modo: ma a mi no me interessa un .. tubo, parchè digo come che MI li fassevo e come che i me clienti i tornava contenti e i me lassava anca dei bei bessi de mancia.

Donca, prima de tuto bisogna saverli crompar. Vardar prima de tuto se i xe da bon o i ga la coccia. Vardarli su i oci e soto le branche, po’ bisogna strucarghe la pansa par vedar se i xe da bon. Se dal buso del cu.lo che i ga soto la pansa, a strucandondoghela, vine fora el pacio no i xe da bon, se invessi no vien fora gnente i xe da bon.

Me dimandarè percossa e par come. E mi ve lo diso. El mejo bocon del çievolo, par un venexian, el xe el boton, ossia el buelo e el stomego col figadin che trà a l’amaro in boca de primo achito, ma che la lassa dolse dopo.

Gavè da saver che el xe da bon parchè nol ga gnancora magnà gnente. E sto qua xe par el motivo che i animali i sa magnar mejo de noantri! Infati co l’aqua xe de dozana nessun pesse magna, parchè la dozana porta fora tuto el sporchesso che ghe xe in ziro par i canali e par la laguna. Alora da quando che ghe xe el colmo de marea a da quando che l’aqua va in balansa co la colma tuti i pessi se ferma de magnar, e i torna a magnar co l’aqua la xe de novo in balansa e la scominsia a cressar parchè la xe più neta. Ciameli mone….

Ohh, ve disevo come che se li cusina.

Mi go ancora un de quei vasi de teracota che ‘na volta vendeva i carboneri e lo tegno ancora come ‘na reliquia: el sarà anca tuto taconà, co le regete de fero par tegnirlo in sesto, ma el funsiona ancora, e po’ el xe quelo che avevo in botega e che me ga fato ciapar tanti schei.

Adesso par dopararlo me toca spetar che queli che stà sora de mi i vada via par no spussolentarli col parfumo, e me meto su la piera del balcon a rostirme el me bravo çievolame!

Alora co la carbonella la ze impissada e la graela a creme larghete – ma no tanto – la xe pronta, se ghe mete sora i çievoli.

NO SE GA’ DA LAVARLI E NO SE GA’ DA SCAMARLI!!!!!

Se i li mete cussì: come che i li stà. Co tuto el so pien e co tute le so s-ciame. Le s-ciame i le perde cusinandose, e cussì el çievolo no ciapa i disegni de la graela e nol se brusa.

Pena che el xe coto da ‘na parte (el se staca da solo alsandolo con ‘na ongia), se lo volta e se ghe mete sora un spissego de sal. Col xe coto anca da stantra parte, se ghe mete anca là un spissego de sal.

A parte mi go parecià ‘na scueleta co dentro ajo e parsemolo tritai, ojo sal e pavare: gnente limon, e ghe lo meto sora el pesse.

Ma no la xe finìa!

A caxa se anca pol scominisar a magnarlo, ma mi in bottega – co lo servivo in tola – jera là che me ciapavo un fanco!

Alora in t’un piato de portada ghe metevo un o do çievoli, secondo la misura. A parte tegnivo deo fete de polenta brustolada bela calda e coverta co un tovajol.

Me ricordo che ghe jera l’ avocato Bragadin e el prof. Zagnoni che i voeva che prima de tuto ghe servisse al boton del çievolo… se el cliente no lo voleva: mejo par mi, parchè me lo metavo da parte e me lo cucavo…

Alora ghe spinavo ben ben el çievolo (che a calchedun ghe disevo che el jera branzin… cussì che ciavavo mejo i schei…) e ghe lo puzavo sora la polenta brustolada, col el scujer e co el piron ghe struccavo ben ben la testa al pesse, ghe metavo sora un limon strucà, pevare sal e ojo de oliva.

Missiavo ben ben tuto quanto: testa spini, e la salsa, sbandavo el piato e el tocio che colava zoso lo rancuravo col scujer e lo metavo sora el pesse, nantra strucada de testa e anca chel tocio sora el pesse.

Ogni tanto ghe fassevo el scherso de metarghe davanti i spini e portarme via el pesse… ma i me ciamava sempre indrìo par dirme che me sbagliavo…

Lori rideva, i jera contenti, i magnava ben, i pagava mejo e i me lassava de le bele mancie.

E dopo me magnavo el boton che loro no aveva vossudo!

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