Zuppa di Cozze (Mussels soup)
Yes, indeedy! If this looks delish to you–take my word for it, it is! This deep fry pan contains 5 lbs of fresh mussels. (Photo is courtesy of Stefan Scimone: Hall Custom Paint, Tuscon, AZ)
The important thing to remember when preparing with seafood is that it must be very fresh. So you pop the mussels into very cold water and wash them thoroughly, changing the water several times. Scrub mussels with a brush or a nylon sponge. If any are open–toss them. some have what I call a “beard” hanging out the side–you can yank this in a downward swipe from small to larger rounded end. Next you drain them of any water. Here’s all you need to make a wonderful “zuppa did cozze”
2 to 5 lbs of mussels
1/2 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 cloves of garlic (at least!)
1-2 hot peppers
a bunch of chopped parsley or cilantro
1 cup of white wine–for this one I used Chardonnay
one loaf of Italian bread to toast
Zuppa di Cozze
Open the mussels on high heat—no water, just cover. They kick out their own liquid.
Take the mussels out if they are too many and throw away one of the shells or clean of their shells completely and leave about ½ whole. Filter the liquid. I use a paper towel in a medium to small sieve. Conserve this liquid with the mussels.
In the same big fry pan—now clean because you rinsed it! pour in the olive oil add the garlic and hot pepper.
Variables: you may use chopped onion if you want a sweeter taste, or you may use lemon if you are opposed to cooking with vino. In case of the onion—put it in with the garlic and pepper.
When the garlic gives out its lovely aroma, perfuming your kitchen till you and your guests wilt with hunger, and turns a sepia golden brown—add the wine. On high heat, let the alcohol burn off. Add the mussels, juice, and all the chopped parsley or cilantro your little old hearty desires. Swoosh the mussels all around still they’re steaming hot and serve with brushcetta—toasted Italian bread. Hearty appetite!