Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Peppery Mussel Stew
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert
A mussel is a type of bivalve mollusk that can be found in fresh water lakes, streams, and creeks, along with the salty intertidal zone where oceans meet the shore. Like many other shellfish, they are cultivated and caught in the wild to serve as food for humans, and they also have a number of predators in the natural environment. This mollusk is also much more popular in Europe and parts of the Asia than North America, where only a small portion of the population is interested in mussels as a food source. This recipes is commonly known as “m’pepata” in the Neapolitan dialect, but the dish if found along any coastal areas of Europe.
There are of course variations in every port. For instance, in the city of Taranto in the Apulia region of Italy, tomato is added to the base, soaked up by thick rustic slices of artisanal bread. You may also add bread to this recipe, and use the same ingredients if you are using clams instead, adding another minute or so to the cooking time. When choosing fresh mussels be certain that they are all closed. Open mussels prior to cooking, need to be discarded.
4 garlic cloves, minced
Grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup Italian parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh basil. Sliced thin
1-1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
¼ teaspoon salt
Place the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, basil, and pepper in a deep pot. Add the olive oil and heat gently until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Taste for salt, add some if needed, and serve the mussels hot, in bowls, with their cooking juices.
Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog
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