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Moeche: Soft Shelled Crabs of Venice

■ 18 May 2012 by James Martin

moeche, soft shelled crab pictureIt’s Moeche (sometimes moleche) season in Venice. Moeche are soft shelled crabs, only available for a few weeks in spring and fall when the crabs shed their shells. Moeche is also a town in Spain, but that needn’t concern us here.

The moeche shown here are as captured at the Rialto market in Venice in mid May. They’re alive. In many recipes you whip up some eggs and let the little buggers wallow around in the gloppiness for a couple hours and then, when they’ve absorbed most of the muck they’re in, you dust them with flour and toss them in hot oil. It sounds like torture, but this is food and death is quick. You must rejoice in beauty and tastiness of your sustenance. You must morn the death that gives you life. You must learn to cook things expertly so the sacrifice has meaning.

moleche pictureIn any case the end result, as enjoyed at the fine restaurant Vini da Gigio, is shown on the right. They come at a cost, especially at a restaurant that is always among the top ten in Venice, where six of them set us back 24 euro. Still, you should not miss these little morsels served with lemon and a wedge of Venice’s iconic polenta if they’re in season. This dish is sometimes called moeche col pien.

Venice Resources

If you like buying and cooking seafood, Venice offers a wonderful opportunity to rent an apartment with like-minded friends like we did. HomeAway lists over 1000 Veneto Vacation Rentals, over 500 Venice area vacation rentals. We stayed in this Venice Gothic Apartment (this apartment is really in the Conneregio district of Venice, my favorite district, right over the 40 Ladroni restaurant, a good place for reasonably priced Venetian food).

Moeche: Soft Shelled Crabs of Venice originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com May 18, 2012, © James Martin.

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