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Report 1968: A Month in Venice

By BJinNM from New Mexico, Fall 2011

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Page 8 of 28: October 11, 2011 A Morning with the Fishes

photo by BJ Firestone

Porcini at the Rialto Market

This morning we were meeting Nan from "Your Friend in Venice" and SlowTrav for a lesson in buying fish at the Rialto Fish Market. Since we were early, we wandered around on our own and got absolutely wonderful Parmigiano cheese, some celery, and a "bouquet" of tiny red and green peppers. We wandered up and down the produce aisles looking at some amazingly fresh, wonderful fruits and vegetables. Sometime while we are here we will come back with the apartment's grocery cart and buy with abandonment.

Once Nan came, we got down to business at the fish market. What a variety of fish there are, much of it still alive and moving! Nan was very good at sharing her favorite vendors, telling us about the different kinds of fish and shellfish and explaining about local fish versus imported, and farmed fish versus wild-caught. The vendors label the fish according to how they are caught and exactly where they are caught. Once you decide on your purchase, the fishmongers will scale, clean and fillet the fish if that is what you wish. How easy is that? You can even ask them which fish won't smell up your house or apartment!

We then walked around the Rialto area with Nan pointing out good places for cichetti and a glass of wine. We stopped at Do Mori for some cichetti and wine before we went to lunch. Nan then guided us through another section of the Rialto area to a favorite restaurant of hers called Al Garanghelo. It was Venetian home cooking at its best. Zuppa da pesce, a zuppa with barley and eggplant parmesan but first we shared fresh porcini over polenta. It is very nice to be here during porcini season! After lunch for dessert we had budino del doge which turned out to be a cream-like substance full of amaretto. Yum! We practically needed a wheel barrel to get us to the vaporetto.

Nan was meeting another group this afternoon so left at Ca d'Oro while we continued to make our way to P. de Roma where we met Francesco from whom Alan is borrowing a violin to use while he is here. What a nice young man. He is so enthusiastic about Venice and gave us some great ideas of places to see. His wife is playing oboe in the orchestra at the opera we are seeing so he said that we were to be sure to introduce ourselves to her on Saturday.

We then wandered through Santa Croce sestiere since we had never been there before, caught the vaporetto back and spent the afternoon doing laundry, and other interesting stuff like that.

This evening I made chicken salad from the rest of the roasted chicken. I used one of the peppers and, boy, was it hot -- but good! I also made a roasted fennel with kalamata olives that I have made at home many times. I have been collecting recipes to bring to Italy for several months; so, of course, the recipe for which I bought all the ingredients, I had not uploaded to the computer. Luckily it was on line so everything went well with the first food we have cooked here. While we were eating, the gelateria across the street closed so no gelato. Just as well after today's lunch dessert.

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