Monday, October 15, 2012
One of the first things I do in any city is head straight to the market. Madrid, Barcelona, London, or even cities which I visit regularly , like Bari. Even if I know I can’t buy a crate full of mushrooms or a bushel of clams, it’s still fun to ogle. A girl can dream, can't she?
My time in Venice last week was no different. Oddly enough I hadn’t been to the Rialto market in....well, I admit I can barely remember the last time I went. I guess my most recent visits to Venice had more to do with art or design, and I just didn’t have time to work in a market stop.
This time though, I got there early one morning and spent a good hour nosing around the stands with my travel buddy Evan (who I've been meeting on various islands this year) Since Evan’s a chef and cookbook writer, we talked about all the great things we would make if we were actually cooking, instead of just eating, our way through town.
The vegetable market was exciting enough, and we even managed to find a butcher that carried nothing but horse meat. But the true heart of the market is - no surprise here - the mercato di pesce.
Located beneath two connected arcades, the stalls just seemed to go on and on and on. We realized that much of the fish was coming from far, far away, but there was a lot of local going on as well. The scampi, still filled with inky colored row, were just about alive. And the cicali, flopping their tails, were. It was probably one of the best fish markets I’d ever seen.
As you can imagine by the time we had finished making the rounds, we were starving, and just aching to try some of the fish. Luckily, we ended up right in front of Pronto Pesce
I know, it’s a corny name. But trust me, the food was anything but.
And when I say we were hungry, I also have to add that it was only 11am. And we’d actually already stopped at Bancogiro and had some bacala matecato. And were on our way to Do Mori and Alla Madonna.
We ate a lot last week.
So I admit, we weren't really that hungry, but we were very curious. So we decided to just try two of the many fish-only dishes off the menu in this pocket-sized take out/ eat in fast food place located inside the fish market.
After drooling over all the scallops in the market for the past hour we couldn’t resist the Cappesante al Finocchietto. At 4 euros a piece they barely cost more than if we had bought the across the street and cooked them ourselves. Scattered with a mix of bread crumbs, fennel seeds and fresh fennel, they were put under the broiler until just done.
Since it was still kind of breakfast time, we decided to try one of the mini savory cornetti. A slice of cured tuna and a swipe of dijon mustard. Can you say perfect breakfast sandwich?
They had lots of other dishes, ranging from bite size cicchetti to full on lunch dishes like pasta with sword fish and porcini or steamed octopus with vegetables and toasted walnuts.
But we were very good, and didn’t over do it. Since, well, we knew we’d be over doing it soon enough.
Campo della Beccarie
Open Tuesday - Saturday, 9-3pm.
Tuesday also 6pm-8pm
Thurs-Saturday also 7pm- 11:30
For more on eating in Venice, download my app, EAT VENICE