People from Venice, in the past, prepared the folpetti (small octopuses) in many different ways: boiled, covered in flour, grilled, pan-fried… They were poor food, often defined as convicts’ or prostitute’s food, and therefore despised by nobles.
In the typical Venetian restaurants, you will certainly find little curled octopuses (moscardini) served as a tasty appetizer, perfect to have before lunch with a glass of wine.
The folpetti are part of the most typical Venetian dish served as an appetizer, which is also made of squilla mantis, squid eggs, shrimps, all boiled and served warm with oil, lemon and small boiled potatoes.
The moscardino has an oval body and eight legs, thin but very long, with eight suckers each. The moscardino is dark brown and medium sized, between 15 and 40 cm. It is an endemic species in all the Mediterranean area, above all in the Adriatic Sea, where half the moscardini produced at national level are fished. The moscardino lives in muddy sea floors, between 15 and 90 meters deep and is fished almost in every season using demersal trawls.
How to prepare Folpetti alla Veneziana
It is an incredibly easy recipe. As all delicious food, its taste resides in the simplicity of the preparation!
- Clean them removing eyes and mouth, then wash them thoroughly.
- Boil some water in a pot, adding a little vinegar.
- Put the octopuses in the water, one by one, holding them by the body and making the tentacles curl up.
- Leave boiling for half an hour.
- Cut them in half without removing what is inside and season with pepper, oil and lemon.
- Serve with boiled potatoes.