PEPPERED MUSSELS (Impepata di cozze): ready in 10 minutes

PEPPERED MUSSELS (IMPEPATA DI COZZE)
PEPPERED MUSSELS (IMPEPATA DI COZZE)

I owe an apology to all my followers for whom sea food is not a favorite food, or do not like sea food at all, but I’m writing another sea food recipe!!!

I couldn’t help myself but to buy some fresh mussels today at the grocery store, since they were super fresh (alive!), and in unmissable bargain, and here I am, sharing my Peppered Mussels recipe with you!

The recipe I’m writing about is typical from Campania Region (the Region of Naples, South Italy), usually served as appetizer, even if some people (like my husband) like them so much that they just eat all their sauce with plenty of bread, quickly filling their bellies!

I won’t suggest to try this recipe to you if you hate seafood or molluscs in general, but if you are just skeptic about trying this kind of food, because you have never tried it before, or because you didn’t know how to cook it, I PROMISE you will LOVE this dish!

Last note: “IMPEPATA” in Italian means “with a lot (and I mean “A LOT”) of pepper”, so if you are particularly sensitive to this spice, you should or substitute it with crushed red pepper, or not eat this dish at all!

 

2 small or 1 large servings INGREDIENTS

FOR the MUSSELS

2 pounds fresh mussels

2 tbs. chopped fresh parsley

2/3 tbs. chopped fresh garlic

pepper 2 tbs. (or to taste)

(or instead 1 tbs. pepper, and 1/2 tbs. crushed red pepper , or to taste)

olive oil

  sea salt to taste

20/30 oz. white wine

FOR THE CROSTINI BREAD

6 slices fresh bread (prefer baguettes or Italian baked style bread)

1/2 garlic clove

olive oil

 DIRECTIONS

As anticipated in the headline, this recipe needs not more than 10 minutes to be made.

This is true, once you have cleaned up your mussels very carefully.  And the cleaning phase won’t take you more than another 10 minutes.  To do it, you can follow these instructions. What I’ve noticed about mussels here in the US is that they usually sell them already clean outside, and you just have to take off mussels’ beard.  It may sound gross, but it is really not, so keep your courage and go ahead!!!  Your cleaned mussels should look like this:

Switch on the oven at 400 degrees F.

First prepare the bread.  Cut it into slices, then rub each slice with 1/2 garlic clove to transfer the flavor (you will use the chopped garlic later, in preparing the mussels).

Then drizzle each slide with olive oil, and bake until it becomes crunchy (usually the same amount of time you need to cook the mussels).

In a big pot, pour some olive oil (I would say about 4 tbs) and the chopped garlic, and wait until the oil gets hot to add the mussels (REMEMBER to dry them very well with a paper towel).

Keep a medium heat.

Cover the pot, preferably with a transparent lid, so you may keep watch on when all the mussels become opened.

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Let the mussels cook about 5 minutes, then add the white wine, the pepper, the salt, and (optionally, the crushed red pepper).

The quantity of pepper or red pepper I gave you is an indicative amount, so feel free to measure each of these spices according to your taste,

but don’t forget that the original recipe requests a ton of pepper!

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Let the mussels cook for no more that 5 minutes more, add the chopped parsley and shake up the pot a little. Turn off the heat.

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Arrange the mussels with their sauce in one or two bowls, and serve when still hot with the “Crostini bread”.

LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!

Tips:

– When you add the seasonings to the mussels, try not to “stir” but rather “shake up” the pot. If you stir the mussels, all the molluscs will probably fall out of the shells, and take away from you the pleasure of sipping them out of the shells to eat them (usually all the flavor of the mussels and the dressing remains attached to the shells!).

– When all the mussels open, in theory they are already cooked, but I usually let them stay on the flame few minutes more, because I like them a little “extra cooked”.

– Be careful not to dry all the sauce the mussels left on the bottom of the pot, because that’s the best part to eat, dipping the “bread crostini” in it!

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