Insalata di cozze (Mussel Salad)

Insalata di cozze

 

It’s hard to think of an easier way to prepare mussels than this one. The mussels are steamed in white wine, shelled and then dressed with a lightly seasoned variation on the classic Italian oil and vinegar salad dressing. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, if you like a little ‘kick’.  Let them sit a while to absorb the flavors and serve.  Mussels salad can be served as a great antipasto or a part of a buffet spread.

Ingredients

Serves 4-6 as a light antipasto

  • One 1 kilo (2 lb) bag of mussels (cleaned and trimmed, see Notes)
  • White wine

For the dressing:

  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar (or freshly squeezed lemon juice)
  • A few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

Put the mussels into a large pot with a splash of white wine over moderately high heat. Cover and let the mussels steam for a few minutes, just until they have all opened, then quickly scoop them out of the pot and set aside to cool. Shell the mussels and place the meat in a mixing bowl

Add a good pour of oil and a drizzle of vinegar (or lemon juice) and mix. Then add the rest of the dressing ingredients and mix again. Let the mussels marinate for an hour or more, mixing from time to time, before serving. Top with a bit of extra parsley for color if you like.

Notes

Mussels these days are more often than not farmed and can be used as is, just lightly rinsed. If you are working with wild mussels—much tastier than the farmed kind, but a bit more trouble—you will need to trim off their ‘beards’ with a pairing knife and thoroughly rinse them of any exterior grit. (The ‘beard’ is the collection of little filaments called the ‘byssus’ that emerge from the between the shells they mussels use to attach themselves to the rocks they live on. It is edible but does not make for pleasant eating.)

I’ve intentionally left the measurements for the oil and vinegar out of the recipe; just follow the usual method for dressing salads Italian-style, with lots of oil to coat the mussels generously, and just enough vinegar to add a little zip. There’s nothing much more to note about this simplest of dishes. You do need fresh mussels, though. The simplicity means that canned or jarred mussels won’t cut it. The dish can and should be made ahead, but beware letting it stand longer than say overnight, or their flavor will get too strong.

Insalata di cozze (Mussel Salad)

Rating: 51

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6 as a light antipasto

Insalata di cozze (Mussel Salad)

Ingredients

  • Serves 4-6 as a light antipasto
  • One 1 kilo (2 lb) bag of mussels (cleaned and trimmed, see Notes)
  • White wine
  • For the dressing:
  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar (or freshly squeezed lemon juice)
  • A few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

  1. Put the mussels into a large pot with a splash of white wine over moderately high heat. Cover and let the mussels steam for a few minutes, just until they have all opened, then quickly scoop them out of the pot and set aside to cool. Shell the mussels and place the meat in a mixing bowl
  2. Add a good pour of oil and just enough vinegar (or lemon juice) to lend some zip, then mix. Then add the rest of the dressing ingredients and mix again. Let the mussels marinate for an hour or more, mixing from time to time, before serving. Top with a bit of extra parsley for color if you like.
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8 Responses to “Insalata di cozze (Mussel Salad)”

  1. 15 June 2014 at 19:10 #

    We love mussels, but have never enjoyed them out of their shells as an “insalata” in their own right. Must try! We second your affirmation of wild mussles – it brings back memories of sitting with Stefano’s mom and grandmother at their little house by the sea cleaning mussels and pulling the beards in the right direction so as to detach them.

    • 15 June 2014 at 21:44 #

      Ah, glad I could bring back some fond memories… :=)

  2. 27 May 2014 at 12:44 #

    This is simple perfection. Bravo!

    • 1 June 2014 at 14:24 #

      Thanks so much, Mimi. Very kind of you so say… :=)

  3. 26 May 2014 at 22:50 #

    this looks great love mussels

    • 1 June 2014 at 14:24 #

      Thanks so much, Rebecca. I’m a big fan, too, as you can probably tell!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Impepata di Cozze - Peppered Mussels | Le March... - 29 May 2014

    […] It's hard to think of an easier way to prepare mussels than this one.IngredientsServes 4-6 as a light antipastoOne 1 kilo (2 lb) bag of mussels (cleaned and trimmed, see Notes)White wineFor the dressing:Olive oilWhite wine vinegar (or freshly squeezed lemon juice)A few sprigs of parsley, finely chopped1-2 cloves of garlic, finely mincedSalt and pepperA pinch of red pepper flakesDirections  […]

  2. Insalata di cozze (Mussel Salad) | Italian Food... - 27 May 2014

    […] It’s hard to think of an easier way to prepare mussels than this one. The mussels are steamed in white wine, shelled and then dressed with a lightly seasoned variation on the classic Italian oil and vinegar salad dressing.  […]

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