the appetizer:

Venezia: Food and Dreams by Tessa Kiros, includes recipes like Spider Crab (Granseola in Bella Vista); Fried Mozzarella Toasts (Mozzarella in Carrozza); and Roasted Guinea Fowl with Peverada (Faraona Arrosto con la Salsa Peverada).



Spider Crab
(Granseola in Bella Vista)

Spider Crab

Serves 2 to 4, depending on the size of the crab


I couldn't get a spider crab at home when I needed it so I got one in Venice and took it to a restaurant I knew and she gave me the cooking details. It is Marinella from La Buona Forchetta. I then got another two crabs from Alvise (from Osteria All' Antica Adelaide), who cooked them for me ready to bring home. Boiled, plucked, dressed with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice—this is everywhere in Venice.

  • 1- to 2 pounds live crab
         (spider, mud, sand, or similar)
  • One celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • One carrot, roughly chopped
  • One onion, roughly chopped
  • A few peppercorns


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One small garlic clove, squashed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • Pinch of peperoncino

Put the crab in the freezer for an hour or so to put it to sleep, and make sure you have some ice cubes ready for later on.

Put the celery, carrot, onion, and peppercorns in a large pot of well-salted water and bring to a boil. Add the crab, bring back to a boil, then cook at a rolling boil according to the crab's weight—less than 10 minutes for a 1-pound crab (sand crabs) or about 15 minutes for 1-3/4- to 2-pound (mud crabs). Transfer the crab to a container of well-iced water and let stand for 15 minutes to cool completely (this will make the meat very tender).

Lift off the shell with the "lever" on the underside. Clean off the guts and gills, and gently clean off the muck, without immersing the crab or spraying it with water. Lift out the meat. Crack the claws with a sharp tap from the back of a knife to the back of the crab leg (softer and easier to crack), and remove the meat. Clean the shell and pile all the meat back into it for serving, putting the roe on top if your crab had any.

Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle lightly over the crab meat.

  • from:
    Venezia: Food and Dreams
  • by Tessa Kiros
  • Photography by Manos Chatzikonstantis
  • Andrews McMeel 2009
  • Hardcover; $34.99
  • ISBN-10: 0740785168
  • ISBN-13: 9780740785160
  • Reprinted by permission.

Buy Venezia




This page created July 2010

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