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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