I eat it for the first time in a restaurant. After having my dish almost licked, and having around 6 kg of bread “pucciato” (dunking) in the sauce, I decided I had to learn and make it at home; firstly because they won’t let me enter in that restaurant again, and then because I would like to cut calories and to drastically reduce the quantity of oil used there.
I tell you so to mean: even if you are on a diet, you can eat this soup of mussels. Mussels have low calories values, such as tomatoes, and if you reduce oil to only 2 tbsp, you will be not beaten by your guilt feelings nor by you large bum.
Soup of mussels
Ingredients (4 serves):
- 2 kg of mussels,
- a large can of organic peeled tomatoes,
- concentrated tomato,
- 3 cloves of garlic,
- powdered hot pepper,
- 2 sprigs of fresh parsley,
- sprig of fresh basil,
- oil, salt, a tsp of sugar,
- few white wine.
- Soft bread to be toasted a little.
Ask for mussels to be cleaned up. Otherwise, resign yourself to do it on your own. Grate will with a little brush under running water, discard the beard. Wash well and let them on a strainer.
Peel garlic, discard the core and slice not very finely. Put it in a large skillet with oil and 3 full tbsp of concentrated tomato. Sauté over medium heat, without burning tomato nor garlic. If this happens, throw everything away and start again. There is no worst of burnt garlic!
Add cleaned mussels and sauté until they are seasoned and have released their liquid. After 2 minutes, while stirring, add ¼ of a glass of white wine. I prefer use not so much wine, because I don’t like the taste of it in this recipe. Let it evaporate, cover with lid and cook for 2 minutes more. Check the mussels: they should be open.
When all the mussels are open, remove from heat. Take mussel with a slot spoon, drain well, and put in a large bowl, covering with a lid.
Now let’s drain the mussels’ released liquid, in order to discard sand which, otherwise, will ruin all the soup.
Drain with a strain or a cheesecloth: it is a little boring but it is worth to. If you don’t have a cheesecloth, use a paper but pour liquid gradually and substitute the paper as soon as it is wet. Otherwise, it will not drain well.
Clean the skillet discarding all the sand left.
Put a clove of garlic in the skillet. Add 2 more tbsp of concentrated tomato and 2 tbsp of oil. Add peeled tomatoes, mash them with a fork, wash the can with a little water and pour in the skillet too. Finally, cook for 2 minutes or until the sauce is reduced (of course, if you want more sauce –for example to season pasta – use 2 cans of tomatoes).
Now add a tsp of sugar: it will balance the tartness of tomato. After 1 minute, add the mussels’ liquid, taste and adjust salt and hot pepper. Add fresh, entire leaves of basil too.
Cook for around 10 minutes, it should be reduced but not thick.
We are preparing a soup… remember?
When you reach the right consistency and taste, add the mussels to the skillet and let them season well, while warming again, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Add fresh parsley 2 minutes before removing from heat. Give any guest some slices of toasted bread, and some cloves of garlic to be rubbed on bread.
You can also choose to place bread on the bottom of the dish, covering it with the soup, or use bread to “fare scarpetta” in the sauce. My favorite option is the second one!
Variation: enrich your soup with 1 kg of large clams. In this case, mind that clams must be let in cold and salted water during almost 4 hours before being washed and cooked. They will be cooked along with mussels, as in the first part of the recipe, in order to drain the sand they will surely release during cooking.