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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, Lucia Fanton e Umberto Sartory


 

 

El Bisato su lŽAra

Eel Glass KilnŽs Way

Ingredients:
alive eel
many bay leaves
sea water or vinegar
grains of pepper (optional)
Modus Operandi

Clean the eel from entrails, and make some cuts on its sides, six - seven cm. distant one from eachother.

According with the origin of the name, we are going to prepare a bay leaves bed on the ara, as is the refractory bricks cell located aside the glass kiln, where glassworks lay for hours to very slowly cool down; The dish can be imitated useing as cooktop a wide, heated, refractory tile or, as used by not glassworking Venetians, a low, perforated pan, sat on a brazier.

Arrange the eel as an helix on the bay bed, sprinkle it with sea water or a water solution of vinegar; Then cover it with another bay leaves layer.

The eel will be cooked in about 20 minutes.
On the ara the grease exudation is absorbed by the refractory, or it drips out from the holes of the pan and the fish, even if frying on its surface, will really be steamed by the aromatic vapour of bay leaves and by its own, protected as well from the fumes of the burning grease by the lower bay layer.

To get a less ancient taste, leave the eel in water and vinegar for about one hour and remove with paper the slimy cuticle from the fish, before setting it on the ara.
In Venetian Local Cuisine, anyway, the fish to be grilled is never washed and is cooked with its brackisch. For a population mainly living on boats, sweet water was often precious, indeed.
In the modern version of the course, as you can find it in some specialized restaurants, youŽll easily find the eel cooked together with other aromas, I.E. grains of pepper, which unlikely fit the budget of the lagoon popular cuisine in ages when that spice was traded against its weight in gold, and employed just for the necessary in food conservation.

El Bisato su lŽAra

Eel Glass KilnŽs Way

This recipe takes its name from the ara of the glass kilns and it is of course typical of the Isle of Murano, where glassworkers could prepare a nourishing and tasty course with the minimum expense also in terms of time.

For the simple realization, and the particular flavour of the eel cooked this way, the araŽs cooking, in its variant on the brazier, was widespread between all the fishermen of the Lagoon, becoming known as a typical dish of the Isle of Burano too.

This recipe, together with that of the Sievoi Rostii su la Grea, is likely one of the most ancient in Venetian Local Cusine.

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