Falsa Granceola alla Triestina

Mock Spider Crab in the Trieste Style

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One of the greatest Venetian dishes is boiled freshly caught spider crab, locally known as granceola or grancevola, served in its shell and simply, but effectively, dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning and parsley. In Trieste, the capital of neighbouring Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the recipe given here is also traditionally served in the half-crab shell to give the impression that you are eating that Venetian dish made with the rare spider crab. It can be served in shells, ramekins or other ovenproof dishes, depending upon what you have to hand.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 115 g/4 oz canned tuna in olive oil, drained and oil reserved
  • 60 ml/4 tbsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt and ground black pepper

Method

  1. Add the eggs to a pan of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, then put them into a bowl of cold water to cool. Peel and chop.
  2. Flake the tuna and mix with the hard- boiled eggs, parsley and garlic. Stir in the lemon juice and enough of the reserved oil from the tuna to form a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Preheat the grill or broiler to medium. Arrange the tuna mixture in half-crab shells, or in other suitable shells, small ramekins or ovenproof dishes.
  4. Cover the fish with breadcrumbs and drizzle with the olive oil.

  5. Slide under the grill and brown gently for 10-15 minutes.

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