Will this star dish of Italian cuisine soon disappear from our plates?

You order a dish with regularity and taste Spaghetti alle vongole At Italian restaurants? Take advantage of it, as some restaurants may disappear from their menus forever. Anyway, that’s what’s been going on in Venice for weeks.

This fisherman’s dish is a true star of Italian cuisine. Italians love it because it is considered lean and light and is easy to prepare. Al dente pasta, quality olive oil with a bit of garlic browning, white wine and clams are enough to get the much-loved iodine-flavored dish. The secret to success? Mantecatura is a well-kept Italian technique of combining clam juice with cooking water to obtain a perfect sauce.

In the video, here’s how to cook pasta according to a food expert:

Threat to Biodiversity

Why would such a simple and popular dish disappear? Clam production in the Venice region is actually under threat. The blue crab, an invasive species from North America, uses its thin blue claws to devour everything in its path. The clams are then emptied and fishermen harvest only the empty shells. The blue crab, which poses a real threat to the region, thrives in Italian waters where there is no natural predator. On the Adriatic coast, near Venice, blue crabs are a real problem. Their presence in the pond has increased exponentially in the last fifteen years. Due to the invasion of this species – listed as an Invasive Alien Species (IAS) – harvests of mussels and clams are becoming increasingly poor. Italian restaurants have no choice but to replace them. On the plate, it is precisely the delicate flesh of this famous blue crab that is used instead of clams. In Italy, especially in Venice, the Spaghetti alle vongole So blue crab spaghetti is gradually replacing the menu of many restaurants.

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And in Belgium?

With us, this problem has not yet arisen, because while the shellfish offered on the menu are fresh, Italian restaurants in Belgium mainly source their ingredients from the North Sea, where local shellfish are abundant. They are also being imported. In these cases, they usually come from France or the Netherlands. At La Gazzetta restaurant, one of the favorite addresses of Brussels residents, Spaghetti alle vongole It’s only on the menu once a week or every two weeks. However, as the head of the establishment, Angelo Bonifacio, explains to us, it was a deliberate choice with no concern for supply. “We offer fish only once a week, guaranteeing freshness, but also differentiating delight for customers.” However, he admits that he is thinking more and more about incorporating blue crab into his dishes. “I don’t want to give up clams completely, because they have a very specific taste, but I want to support Italy by participating in the eradication of these. Blue crabs that destroy the entire Adriatic coast.

His desire to support Italian restaurants is less because, as he explains to us again: “I have no problem cooking blue crab, but it is still difficult to find it in Belgium. The organization should provide means for the whole of Europe to use these crabs to collectively combat the problems they can cause in the long term. Especially In terms of taste, the blue crab is particularly delicious. For the Italian chef, it is very easy to add value to this product once the meat is well cooked: “You can use it in salads, add it to pasta dishes or make meatballs. The possibilities are many.”

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