Peppered mussels – or impepata di cozze – is a typical dish of the Neapolitan tradition, but very well known everywhere in Italy. You can find it almost everywhere, at least in the coastal regions. The preparation is very easy and requires just few ingredients, you could say the mussels get ready by themselves, but you’ll be surprised to see how tasty and good the result is!
A long summer lunch at a restaurant on the beach must include impepata di cozze! We are talking about one of the most common summer dishes, and as well one of the most loved and widespread 🙂 Cooked with very few ingredients, it is very simple and tasty and can be served both as a starter and as a second course. I shouldn’t forget to mention that mussels have very good nutrients properties : rich in antioxidants, proteins and mineral salts, at the same time they are poor in calories!
But how are we going to cook them? In a large pot or skillet, with some garlic and olive oil, over a very hot flame, just until they open…and then we’ll season with some freshly ground black pepper and parsley!
Simple but packed with aromas and flavor – garlic and black pepper give this dish its unique characterization. Don’t forget to accompany impepata di cozze with some rustic homemade bread, it will be unforgettable!
A few words on mussels
As for most recipes made of a few ingredients, the importance of the quality of those ingredients is paramount. Let’s see some tips and tricks…
Mussels are sold and cooked alive, and this happens because once they’re dead they go off pretty quickly, so it’s not ideal to eat them! When sold, they must have an identification mark and a label indicating the packaging date and the minimum period of conservation. Moreover they can’t be sold individually.
Once you buy the mussels, make sure they are all well closed, with their shell intact. Get rid of the semi-open ones, they could be rotten and cause poisoning. If you buy farm-raised mussels, then the cleaning phase should be pretty fast; it should be enough to rinse them under water and scrub any debris with your fingers. Wild mussels, on the other hand, present some parasites on their shell surface, you’ll need to remove them with a knife. As second step, you have to “debeard” them. What does it mean? Mussels attach themselves to solid surfaces using a sticky membrane that is usually called “beard”. To remove it, just pull it downwards using your thumb and forefinger until it comes out and gets discarded. At this point, rinse well under running water and rub with them with a kitchen metal sponge. Remember that once the mussels are cleaned, they should be consumed within 12 hours.
Peppered mussels – Impepata di cozze
Ingredients (for 2 servings)
3,3 pounds (approx. 1 1/2 kg) mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 garlic cloves
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 glass white wine (optional)
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
freshly ground black pepper
Peel two garlic cloves and cut them into two.
In a large pot add the olive oil and the garlic and cook over medium heat. When the oil is sizzling and the garlic gets golden, add the mussels and cover with a lid. Cook over high heat for some minutes. If you want, you can also add a glass of white wine. Mix the mussels occasionally, not using a ladle but rotating the pot, and let them cook until they are all well open.
At this point, remove from heat and add abundant pepper and a handful of chopped parsley.
Serve the mussels with their own cooking water – remember to filter it in the end – and with a slice of homemade bread.
Super easy and super tasty! 🙂
Peppered mussels - Impepata di cozze
The typical italian summer dish, peppered mussels is easy to make, tasty and aromatic!
- 3,3 pounds (approx. 1 1/2 kg) mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 glass white wine (optional)
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- Step 1 Peel two garlic cloves and cut them into two.
- Step 2 In a large pot add the olive oil and the garlic and cook over medium heat.
- Step 3 When the oil is sizzling and the garlic gets golden, add the mussels and cover with a lid.
- Step 4 Cook over high heat for some minutes. If you want, you can also add a glass of white wine.
- Step 5 Mix the mussels occasionally, not using a ladle but rotating the pot, and let them cook until they are all well open.
- Step 6 At this point, remove from heat and add abundant pepper and a handful of chopped parsley.
- Step 7 Serve the mussels with their own cooking water – remember to filter it in the end – and with a slice of homemade bread.