The Crocette (Sea Slugs) | Ancona typical shellfish dish

Among species belonging to marine fauna of Ancona area there is a characteristic shellfish namedcrocetta” (lit. “little cross”). The crocetta, whose Italian name is “garagolo”, is a shellfish belonging to the family of gasteropod provided with a shell with a particular shape, so as to make it like a pelican foot with which it is often identified.

The Crocette | Sea Slugs

Once fished, the crocette need of an elaborated and patient procedure  determining their cost and difficulty to find them out. In fact, in order to make them edible there is the necessity to “break their spouts”, i.e. eliminating either their lateral and bottom sides.

Because of their shell hardness, that operation is done by means of pincers. Once broken their spouts, they have to be generously washed using water and vinegar, in order to starve them from slime (in practise it is the same procedure as for common land snails).

You can taste raw, lemon added or simply prepared “in porchetta”  crocette.
Recipe for crocette in porchetta.
You need a very large saucepan in which pouring olive oil using sufficient quantity to fry garlic, rich in taste chopped fennel and rosemary; then, adding crocette and keep on cooking on a  high flame. At the end, adding  salt, pepper, a glass of white wine and thinly chopped fresh tomatoes. Completing this Ancona delicious dish, please do not forget to taste it hot.
They say that crocette reflect a bit of the typical character of Ancona people. So, we want to quote you the famous poetry of the local author Eugenio Gioacchini also called Ceriago.



Se pine in tra do’ deti come un fiore;
le bagi come fosse el primo amore,
prima in tel cuderizzo, un bagio seco,
po’ volti e bagi in do’ che c’era el beco.
Ciuci e riciuci, lichi scorze e deti :
è un ino de chiopeti e de fischieti
e te viénene su qùi ciciolini
che udorene de mare e de giardini.
Ricòrde.te ma prò che la cruceta,
da per lia sola, è misera, pureta;
è come un quadro pieno de vernige,
un quadro belo, ma senza la cornige.
E alora perché el gòde sia completo,
ce vòle, digo vole, un bichiereto
de vì ogni sète cici , in abondanza,
de modo che ce sguazi in tela panza. …
lo guardo ’sta cruceta sbrozolosa
cun ’st’anima gentile; cià qualcosa
del caratere nostro ancunetà :
rozo de fòra, duro, un po’ vilà,
ma drento bono, un zuchero, ‘n amore,
ché nun conta la scorza, conta el core!
You pick them up between two fingers like a flower;
you kiss them as it was you first lover,
first in their bottom side, a sharp kiss,
then  turn and kiss them where the beak  was.
Sucking and sucking, leaking skin and fingers:
of clicks and whistles an hymn it is
and come up those cracklings
of sea and gardens smelling.
But remember that cruceta indeed
by its own, it is poor, needy;
it is like a picture fully painted,
beautiful picture, but unframed.
Now then because the delight complete was,
you need, I say you need, a little glass
of wine every seven cracks, abundantly
so as it paddles in your belly…
I am seeing at this cruceta bumping
my gentle heart; it has something
our soul of Ancona native
rudely, toughly, we behave,
but so kindly, sugar-like, such lovely people,
[inside we are and it’s not important our skin, but the heart we have!


The small kiosk of the crocette
One of the places where you can taste the crocette is the historic kiosk of Morena, one of the family Baldini daughters. You can find it out going down by Roma Sq. towards Corso Mazzini, having at its back the so called Thirteen Pipes monument.
We suggest you to eat them drinking a good white wine Verdicchio, typical of this area and whose qualities we will write you soon.

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