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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Another Market Find!-Part II

In Florence I finally got a chance to taste a little sea critter I had only seen from afar at the market in Torino. The cicale or pannocchie (as they are called in Rome) are mantis shrimp. The look fierce and strange but Demetrio says they have a wonderful flavor. Enzo bought some and made some pasta that tasted heavenly. I'm not talking good, I am talking out of this world. Read more about the shrimps here.

They are in season now and do a real number on your hands as they have tough spines that are difficult to remove. Their flesh is very soft and supple so do not expect something firm like a scampi or a mini lobster tail (as I did). They are cooked in water lightly then cooled and peeled. Next the tail meat is added to sauces and cooked a bit. There is no doubt I will be trying the recipe myself, spines and all.

The shrimps have large claws like that of the garden mantis in which to capture its prey. We went to the large market in Florence to get these. Most of them were still alive and fresh when dinner time approached.

They are quite large and a very special delicacy, worth all the work and more. One bite and all you taste is the best the sea has to offer.

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At 10:41 PM, Anonymous trench said...

mantis shrimp are dangerous! They can take fingers if you are not careful. Seen some people seriously hurt by live ones.

At 4:50 AM, Anonymous rowena said...

Ok, this weather is gettin' old. I think it's time to consider buying eskimo boots!

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Tiff said...

I attest to the wonderful flavoring of those! When I went up to Italy last November, my husband's Nonna cooked some wonderful seafood pasta just filled with them. I had never seen them in my life, but boy, were they good!

At 9:10 PM, Blogger H. (aka. NC_State_Gal) said...

Now I want to go somewhere to taste them!!

At 6:36 PM, Anonymous paz said...

I like your photos!

At 12:39 PM, Blogger GNN Staff Writer said...

Now I can hardly face my lunch of tuna and pickles. I envy you.


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