MUSSELS-SPICY TOMATO SAUCE from Lidia
Cozze alla Posillipo
This dish can wear many hats. As is, it makes a light appetizer. Served with zoccolo(fried bread "clog"-see recipe under zoccolo) it becomes a main course. Or you can prepare the mussels as described and toss them with freshly cooked linguine.
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 3 pounds mussels
- 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
- 8 garlic cloves, very finely chopped or sliced
- 1 35 ounce can Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 small peperoncino, crumbled, or a pinch of red pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 10 large fresh basil leaves, shredded
- Pinch of salt
- 12 pieces of zoccolo (fried bread "Clog")
To purge the mussels of their grit, stir the cornmeal into 4 quarts of cold water, add the mussels, and let them soak, shaking them up once of twice, for 1 hour. Drain and scrub them with a stiff brush. Scrape off any barnacles or seaweed. Discard any mussels with cracked shells or that do not shut tightly when tapped. Remove the beards by pulling them toward the narrow end of the shells.
In a large saucepan, cook the chopped garlic, parsley, and peperoncino in the olive oil over low heat until the garlic is golden, about 3 minutes. Slide the tomatoes into the skillet, stir in the oregano and pereroncino. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have cooked down, about 5 minutes. Stir the mussels into the skillet, then pour in the wine. Bring to a boil, cover the pot, and cook just until the mussels are opened 5-8 minutes. Stir in the basil and, if you like, a generous drizzle of olive oil. Check the seasoning and add a little salt if necessary. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Divide the mussels among warmed serving bowls, topping each serving with a zoccolo. Zoccolo recipe is under Zoccolo.
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