Central Market of Livorno over the main canal of the city, Italy.
The market is open everyday except Sunday and 5 entrances of the market lead you into the main food hall where there are richest greens, meat, dairies, coffee, bread & pastries, pasta an fish that surely inspire you to think about to whip up some delicious dishes! We love going to Mercato Centrale di Livorno right after our usual Italian breakfast ( cappuccino and typical Italian pastries! ) for a fun stroll and a few ideas for our nice and long lunches and dinners for everyday. The market happens inside of the main building that was built back in late 19th century in splendid example of public Art Nouveau style, and also the outside of the building where there are ton of fruit and vegetable vendors in this square called, Piazza Cavalloti.
You can find pretty much everything and anything that Italians do eat daily in the markets! The freshest produce from such simple yet perfectly ripped tomatoes, lush and impressive zucchini flowers to lightly fry up to the perfection, and especially the “Fish and Seafood” is the true highlight of the Livorno market as Livorno is considered as one of the most important top 3 ports in Italy.
Here I like to share mainly the 2 parts of the market as these are our usual biggest interest: Vegetable market in Piazza Cavalloti and the Fish and Seafood section of the indoor market.
Fiori di Zucca! ( The Zucchini flowers) The simple delicacy of Italy. Everyone prepares it differently. But as Livia, my mother in law always taught me, you do not overdo Zucchinis. They carry this delicate subtle flavor. Our favorite way will be dip it in the simple dry flower then dunk it in the egg wash, fry it up for like 30 seconds and when they are out just sprinkle some salt to taste. That ’s the best way! Aren’t those flowers so gorgeous? There a few different kinds. Take a look at couple pics below.
White Zucchini flowers. Those long Zucchini as your arm! from Sicily. Yes size of your arms!
Sweet and delicate wild berries from the bush. These berries are small as your baby finger nail.
Fabulously fat porcinis! Just slice them up and grill them on the low flame with touch of olive oil and salt. Che Buoni!
This is a kind of green beans. Better than the French beans! Sweeter and more tender.
Our favorite kind. Vongole Veraci. Yes that Vongole for your linguini with white white and garlic sauce. Yum!
All the local fish from the mare di Livorno. The kinds like to hang out near the rocky area. Which mean more those thin fish bone but also has more flavor.
Skinned head on whole Gattucci. If you know how to eat fish, you want the head on while you cook it. The simple rule here. More parts of the fish=more flavor.
Here the real Scampi! Peeps, bigger size shrimp is Not scampi. They are two different thing. Scampi is absolutely more angular with spiky and harder shell. The meat is sweeter and juicier than shrimp. And they are more expensive and tastier. Best way to eat? Go CRUDO. Shell it carefully, drizzle of extra olive oil and squeeze of fresh lemon. No salt is needed as they are well seasoned already from the salt of the ocean itself.
Baby cuttle fish. You can deep fry, stir fry or pasta sauce it! Expensive! See it’s 25 Euro for 1 Kg!
Array of salad, sotto olio ( things sitting in oil), cured with lemon and garlic. Take them home by the weight as usual.
It’s like sort of salami of octopus.
An old style coffee bar inside the market. But notice that modern stool!
More individual fish vendors on trucks parked right outside of the market.
OK. We are back home now and making a quick lunch for the day!! Rinse the scampi and drain the water.
First dish. Scampi Crudo with Oilve oil and Lemon.
Gather all the heads of Scampi and quick fire on the sauce pan with tomato, garlic, olive oil, shot of white wine and fresh sage. You can simply suck on the heads or this makes the best pasta sauce. Penne or Spaghetti. The hair on this hand is Emi’s. Ha-ha!
You can cover it on low heat and simmer it like 15 minutes. It’s a killer!
Zigge. Maybe the smallest shellfish on Earth. Size of your thumb nail. Gael’s favorite! Wash them, hot oil with garlic, Italian parsley and fresh black pepper. No salt needed.
When the shell is all open and the color of all comes turns bit more intense , they are ready to it. They are like potato chips of Shellfish. DELICIOUS!! Pop them in!
Gael fooling with Granpa’s mafia glasses while we are cooking!