Region: Italy, Apulia
Category: Antipasto, Meze, Tapas, and Hors d'Oeuvres
You may never have 10 people drop in on you unexpectedly, but if you do (or if you love mussels), and your fishmonger is nearby and has a lot of cleaned mussels on hand then this recipe is ideal for quickness; but only if the mussels are clean. This recipe needs lots of crusty Italian bread to soak up the broth. In the summertime, this is a fun and messy eating experience, so don't bother with utensils or napkins (wash up afterwards).
Yield: Makes 10 servings
Preparation Time: 1 hour
18 pounds cleaned mussels (see Note)
Leaves from 1 bunch of parsley (about 20 to 25 sprigs), chopped
8 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes (optional)
Lemon wedges (optional)
1. Dunk the cleaned mussels in a plugged sink filled with cold water to wash them once more. Drain the water and put the mussels into 2 large stock pots. Divide the parsley and garlic and toss into the pots. Pour the olive oil over the mussels. Add the black pepper and chile if using.
2. Turn the heat to high, partially cover, and when steam begins to rise turn the mussels with a long wooden spoon so they all are steamed evenly. Check the mussels and when they are all open wide remove them from the heat. Pour as much mussel liquid as you want out into dipping bowls. Serve the mussels in their pots. Don't forget to place two big bowls on the table for the empty shells. Discard mussels that have remained firmly closed.
3 pounds of mussels can serve 2 people. Use 4 parsley sprigs and 2 garlic cloves.