Cicheti are often showcased behind glass counters in small wine bars called bacari that you find along the cobbled streets of Venice. When I was there we ate pork meatballs, grilled calamari, icy oysters, marinated raw artichokes and diced pancetta panfried with prawns, all served with a basket of toasted bread or crostini.
My absolute favourite were the tiny, delicate Venetian sandwiches made with soft white bread and filled with Parma ham and pesto. The crusts are removed and then they’re pinched together around the edges to seal them.
Here are some ideas to make your own platters of cicheti:
• Toss chunks of tuna in sundried tomato pesto
• Poach mussels and stir in some readymade tomato sauce
• Fry calamari tubes in butter and lemon juice
• Purée marinated artichokes and add some chickpeas
• Grill prawns in olive oil, chopped garlic, fresh chilli and parsley
• Fry chicken livers and serve with grilled polenta cubes
• Fry anchovies with baby tomatoes and butter beans
• Roast halved red peppers and baby marrows in olive oil rosemary and garlic