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athinaeos

A visit to the fish market in Venice (Rialto)

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I visited the Venice fish market in August and posted some pictures and impressions in my panathinaeos weblog.

I do not think there is any other market that gives me this sense of freshness and immediacy. The only other one I can think of is in Syracuse, Sicily, on the little island of Ortygia.


athinaeos

civilization is an everyday affair

the situation is hopeless, but not very serious

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That was a good read, thanks! The Venice market is wonderful, and I agree that it's a lot like the Syracuse market (I wrote a little blog post about the two a while back). The biggest difference, I think, is architectural: the Venice market is housed in that beautiful building, whereas the Syracuse market just sprawls down a series of streets. But they're both great.

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Wonderful markets indeed, however, I would put the Boqueria in Barcelona and la Brecha in San Sebastien right up there with them. The quality of the fish at the market in Ortygia is second to none, however, it lacks the variety of the others. It is the most purely local market of the set. They are 4 of the most beautiful places in the world to me.


Edited by docsconz (log)

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Wonderful pics and it brings back memories of our own visit to the Venice market. When we went in mid October I wondered at the time what the market would be like, um, odor-wise, in August.

It almost hurt to see all that seafood on display and not be able to buy and cook it. I wanted to get some and then go kick a local out of their kitchen. I have my own pics, inlcuding one of the scallops just like yours, on my wall at home and work and look at them wistfully every now and again.

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Wonderful markets indeed, however, I would put the Boqueria in Barcelona and la Brecha in San Sebastien right up there with them. The quality of the fish at the market in Ortygia is second to none, however, it lacks the variety of the others. It is the most purely local market of the set. They are 4 of the most beautiful places in the world to me.

I will never forget in Ortygia the old man on a little stool, offering sea urchin eggs in esspresso plastic cups. I was so obsessed to go and get some before they finish that I never took a picture.

Thank you for the opening of the set to include Boqueria and la Brecha.

Some might want to include the "mega" markets as well, like Madrid and Tokyo, but they are in a totally different league.


athinaeos

civilization is an everyday affair

the situation is hopeless, but not very serious

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It's great for me to see these pictures of a European fish market, as my experience is limited to Asian fish markets. I was especially happy to see the pictures of the little octopuses, which I love so much I named myself after them (in Korean of course). I'm used to seeing them live in tanks, however, as in Korea they're often eaten while still squirming. They're also delicious grilled and dipped in Korean chili paste (gochujang) that's been thinned with a little rice vinegar.

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Great images thank you. I also loved the Syracuse market, but the fish markets in Spain are also quite amazing if you get the chance.

In one image there are a coupe of fish that look very much like fresh cod, would be interesting to comfirm this (or not).

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Great images thank you. I also loved the Syracuse market, but the fish markets in Spain are also quite amazing if you get the chance.

In one image there are a coupe of fish that look very much like fresh cod, would be interesting to comfirm this (or not).

Thank you for your kind words.

I am on the way of exploring the Spanish markets and hope to report soon. Especially on my favourite delicacy, salted cod, all 20 something parts of it!

Regarding your question, if the image below contains the couple you are referring to, I have cropped it and the label reads like "Merluza"?

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=mo...d=si&img=131280

P.S. I still cannot manage to post images on the forum. I expect to learn after 2100.


athinaeos

civilization is an everyday affair

the situation is hopeless, but not very serious

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Yes they are fresh cod. It seems that in Italy they are called "Merluzzo" which is very similar to "Merluza", a name I have seen more often applied to Hake elsewhere.

Not sure that I have ever seen fresh cod in Italy before, how interesting.

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This is the photo under discussion relating to fresh cod:

gallery_23863_3023_50062.jpg

I also found this photo to be particularly compelling:

gallery_23863_3023_111004.jpg

A Chorus of Fish

Very nice images, Athinaeos. Looking at and taking market (esp. seafood) photos are some of my favorite things. Just by virtue of its location the Rialto market is particularly photogenic. Then when you add the great quality and variety of its market, it truly becomes one of the most special markets in the world.

edited to add that the photos are Athinaeos', taken from his link in his post above.


Edited by docsconz (log)

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Very nice images, Athinaeos. Looking at and taking market (esp. seafood) photos are some of my favorite things. Just by virtue of its location the Rialto market is particularly photogenic. Then when you add the great quality and variety of its market, it truly becomes one of the most special markets in the world.

many thanks docsconz, i was inspired by the "chorus" and would like to ask a spanish baritone to join ...

gallery_23863_3023_110429.jpg

A Spanish Baritone


athinaeos

civilization is an everyday affair

the situation is hopeless, but not very serious

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Yes they are fresh cod. It seems that in Italy they are called "Merluzzo" which is very similar to "Merluza", a name I have seen more often applied to Hake elsewhere.

Not sure that I have ever seen fresh cod in Italy before, how interesting.

I would very much like to get these all straightened out for once. I'm afraid I've been getting it wrong all these years. I just read in Davidson's Mediterranean Seafood that there is no cod in the Mediterranean, meaning that what I thought was cod is actually hake.

I had always translated merluzzo as cod and nasello as hake, but Davidson applies both Italian names to the same fish, which he calls hake in English. I forget why, but I had always been under the impression that Spanish merluza was not synonymous with Italian merluzzo, the former being hake and the latter cod, but if they're both hake, well, never mind. My unscientific observation suggests that merluza (based on what I ate in restaurants on a trip to Bilbao) and merluzzo (which I buy frequently in Rome and have also had fresh-caught from Calabria) are similar but not the same fish, though I suppose they could be the same fish in different sizes (the Spanish being a lot bigger). Since the merluzzo I buy is definitely Mediterranean and the Spanish could be (is probably) Atlantic, they could, I suppose, be both different kinds of hake. Clearly I do not have a grip on the difference, other than taxonomic (they are members of different families in the same order), between cod and hake. What I recently ate in New England as cod (where they should know what a cod is) was closer to the Spanish than to the Italian.

My esteemed colleague Howard Isaacs came up with the following for "Dictionary of Italian Cuisine":

merluzzo usually used to mean (fresh) cod. Merluzzo bianco refers to Atlantic and Pacific cod—Gadus morrhua or G. macrocephalus—usually preserved (as BACCALÀ or STOCCAFISSO); the name is also used to indicate a fresh fish from Italian waters, either NASELLO or the merluzzo argentato (Merluccius merluccius).

and

nasello the name refers most properly to the Atlantic Gadidae family, but also to several members of the Mediterranean Merlucciidae family, notably Merluccius merluccius. As Gadus morrhua, et al., it is sold fresh or else preserved as STOCCAFISSO and BACCALÀ; the Merlucciidae are generally translated as hake, sometimes as whiting or sea pike (see LUCCIO MARINO)

Finally, come to think of it, I don't recall ever seeing the label "nasello" outside the frozen-fish section of the supermarket.

So, getting to the point, it seems true you haven't seen fresh cod in Italy and that it's all hake, and that merluzzo is used for both non-Med cod and Mediterranean hake and probably every other fresh fish of what Davidson calls the order of cod-like fish. Nasello would appear to be synonymous with merluzzo to indicate the Med fish. Now, does Spanish merluza correspond more or less exactly to merluzzo?


Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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The fish in the image is Cod, not Hake. Davidson is actually talking about fish endemic to the Med., not fish that you can buy in the region (which includes imported fish). I have seen many, many New Zealand red bream for sale in Italy and Spain, even in quite small an supposedly isolated villages.

Part of the confusion in Cod V Hake is likely due to the fact that fresh cod in Italy is likely to be a relatively recent phenomena.

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The fish in the image is Cod, not Hake. Davidson is actually talking about fish endemic to the Med., not fish that you can buy in the region (which includes imported fish). I have seen many, many New Zealand red bream for sale in Italy and Spain, even in quite small an supposedly isolated villages.

Part of the confusion in Cod V Hake is likely due to the fact that fresh cod in Italy is likely to be a relatively recent phenomena.

What I buy as merluzzo is Mediterranean. I don't think I've seen anything as large as a cod. Still, I would be glad to be enlightened about how you tell the difference. What is the NZ red bream sold as? Dentice? How can you tell the difference? How big is it?


Maureen B. Fant
www.maureenbfant.com

www.elifanttours.com

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Fish sold in Italy should have its origin shown. Cod some many sizes, if you look at the images in this thread you can see the skin is a typical lemon-green leopard spotted appearance. Hake is related to cod, but is silver skinned, not coloured. Hake is quite a soft fleshed fish, cod is firmer in texture. Not really interchangeable in cooking either.

Hake (Merluccius merluccius) can be caught in the Med., Cod (Gadus morhua) isn't. There are a lot of other related fish that are likely to be sold as fillets with similar names to Hake. I'm not sure that fresh cod like in the images should here is very common at all in Italy, frozen fillets maybe a differnt issue.

The bream in question are these. They can be quite large but the usual size is about 35 cms.

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i would like to contribute to the cod, hake, merluza thread by offering a merluza negra from cantabria spain

gallery_23863_3023_946684.jpg

the picture below is from a fish we call cod in greece (bakaliaros), and i must confess i am confusied after the earlier posts regarding the existence of cod in the med (or the aegean for that matter!)

gallery_23863_3023_156403.jpg


athinaeos

civilization is an everyday affair

the situation is hopeless, but not very serious

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No "Cod" in the Med., but it is often used as a generic term for white fleshed fish fillets. However the fish in the Rialto market was most certainly a cod. Compare it with the fish in #30 of this link.

Cod ID.

A little bit difficult to tell from the images, but the above look like the same species of Hake.

"Nasello" seems to be a very generic term, in Tunisia Poor Cod, Hake, Whiting and Blue Whiting are all "Nazalli".

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I've been thinking about the Rialto fish market a lot lately since we'll be staying in Venice 14-26 February and will be renting an apartment so able to fully enjoy whatever looks tasty @ the market. I really did not intend for this trip to coincide with Carnivale but that's just how our respective work schedules worked out.

The last time we were in Venice we inadvertently ended up in an apartment rather than in a hotel; if you enjoy cooking there's no better way to spend a week or two in Venice. Great to be able to buy more than just fruit from the market.

One of the things I particularly like about the fish markets in Venice (maybe this is a legal requirement in Italy?) is that everything is labeled as follows:

Latin Name

Common Name

Farmed/wild with method of take frequently mentioned

Source- preferably Nostrano (from the lagoon itself or its immediate vicinity) then Adriatic, Med or wherever else.

I'm mentally packing my knife roll even as I type this.


Edited by 6ppc (log)

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Yes, it physically pained me to see all those varieties of seafood and not to be able to get a chance to cook any of them.  Those sweet, sweet cannoche, the brown shrimp, the tiny softshell crabs the size of a quarter . . .

Yeah, on our last trip, once we found ourselves with an apartment, the remaining 8 days pretty much turned into shop, cook (nap), shop (+ snack= umbra & cicchetti). Rinse repeat, lose track of what day of the week it was thus missing our flight home altogether. Good times! (We'll try not to get confused about day/date this time around, the additional bonus day in Venice ended up costing us 1,200 Euro each in airfare alone...).


Edited by 6ppc (log)

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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