La sudicia


Ingredients (for 4 people)

· a little leftover sauce (it can be meat, tomato, mushroom, sausage sauce……)

· spinach, g.200

· 2 spoons of grated Parmesan cheese

· chili pepper, to taste

· water

· big ditalini pasta (its name in Livorno is “bombolotti”)

· salt, to taste

Preparation method

1. Clean and wash the spinach;

2. boil the spinach in a little water;

3. drain and press the spinach a little, keep the cooking water aside;

4. add some water to the one where the spinach was boiled, a little salt and cook the pasta: do not use much water;

5. let the “bombolotti” cook in boiling water; in the meantime…

6. chop the spinach roughly;

7. pour the spinach and the sauce in a bowl and stir carefully;

8. when the pasta is ready, al dente, ladle some cooking water in the bowl: the pasta must not be dry;

9. add the cheese and stir carefully;

10. the “Livorno’s sudicia is ready”:

Enjoy your meal!

2nd Version : The country sudicia

In this version, the sauce is replaced by ricotta cheese, which was easy to find in the countryside; chili pepper is replaced by nutmeg and no cheese is used. The preparation method is the same as for “Livorno’s sudicia”.

Figure 2: Alessio and Brando enjoy the sudicia that we prepared in the classroom

Food product to preserve

Figure 3 anemonia sulcata

Snakelocks or “orticole”

The food product that we learned about through our family interviews and chose to recommend to the Ark of Taste is represented by the so called snakelocks or “orticole”, as they are known in Livorno. Our classmate Camilla’s grandmother mentioned them for the first time, we got curious and did our research to know more about this food item that was unknown to our teachers too. Snakelocks are very hard to find now, unluckly, not just because this is not their right season but also for they are rarer and rarer. So, we tried to gather as many information as possible on “orticole”, with the help of those knowing them, including Marusca, for sure.

Now we know that:

1. actinia, this is what snakelocks are, belongs to the sea anemone family, but moves more;

2. spring/summer is the best season to pick them;

3. snakelocks live in relatively shallow waters;

4. they are wrinkly and cylindrical, 12 cm long, with a 1-3 cm diameter;

5. they remained and still do, on the bottom of fishing nets;

6. kids used to pick snakelocks when they were swimming in the sea in summer, to have them cooked at home;

7. is it a protected species? Apparently not, but we will dig deeper on that;

8. in the kitchen, they are washed, peeled off and covered in flour

9. careful: snakelocks are slightly stinging, keep them off your face then.

Traditional recipe

Clean snakelocks thoroughly, rinse them carefully to get rid of any speck of sand. Then put them in boiling water for just 30 seconds, drain and let them dry for fifteen minutes in a plate or on a marble surface (do not use fabric or blotting paper since snakelocks could stick to that). Take off their thin peel, cover them in corn flour and then dip in beaten egg, or the other way around (both procedures are fine).

In the meantime, pour some extra virgin oil in a frying pan and heat it up, then deep fry the “orticole” as soon as they are covered in corn flour. They taste like the sea, and feel like fried brain, crunchy outside and soft inside.

This food used to be popular when there was less money around and people would search for wild food items to eat. Nowadays, fishermen still find snakelocks at the bottom of their nets, therefore we can ask for them, not to throw them away. As a result, we can have lovely fried croquettes and do not have to bother the Planet to get more food.

If you really want to enjoy snakelocks, do not tear them off the sea bottom, but ask the fishermen for them and just take what you can eat!