I have been craving mussels ever since I watched the Barefoot Contessa whipping up a batch for her beloved Jeffrey last week. And with a quick trip to the fish market, I was ready to satisfy the craving! This is a very simple preparation that I have had many times in Italy – always served with plenty of crusty toasted bread to sop up the wonderful juices.For me, this dish evokes memories of sitting outside near the sea at one of my favorite restaurants near Taormina watching the waves lap against the shore as the waiters hustle to and fro with dishes brimming with fresh seafood. I can still smell the wonderful aromas wafting from the passing meals ….happy memories that keep me going as winter continues on here in the east. So think spring, think sea, think warmth and give this easy dish a try.Add some crusty, toasted bread, a mixed green salad perhaps – and you have a meal. Oh, and don’t forget a nice chilled glass of crisp white wine or prosecco! Sit back and listen to the waves….
Cozze al Vino Bianco (Mussels in White Wine)
4 pounds mussels
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups good quality white wine
Lots (about 1/3 cup) chopped fresh parsley
Fresh ground pepper
Loaf crusty Italian bread, sliced and toasted
1. Fill sink with cold water and add about 1/3 cup of flour. The flour will help the mussels release any sand and grit. (Tip from the Barefoot Contessa!!) Soak mussels for about 30 minutes. Drain. Debeard and scrub if necessary.
2. In a large pot or saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
3. Add wine to the pan and bring to a simmer.
4. Add the drained mussels and about 1/2 of the parsley. Cover the pot and allow to cook for a few minutes. Stir mussels to coat and allow any to open. Cover and cook until all the shells have opened – about 5 minutes. (Be careful not to overcook!)
5. Using a slotted spoon, remove mussels to a warm bowl. Add remaining parsley and pepper to broth in pan. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
6. Pour broth over mussels in bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of additional chopped parsley.
7. Serve immediately with toasted bread slices to sop up the wonderful juices. Enjoy!!