When we were kids my sister and I couldn’t wait for summer to arrive. That meant family outings to Southhold Beach on the North Fork of Long Island. My dad would surf fish while we would while the day away sun bathing, beach combing, or scouring rocks for mussels during low tide. Later that evening Mom would prepare our catch for the day – the savory culmination of our labors.
STEAMED MUSSELS WITH TOMTATO
(Cozze cu Pumaroru/ Cozze con Pomodoro)
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 2 servings.
1 pound ripe plum tomatoes
2 pounds mussels
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves
5 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup dry white wine
Salt and black pepper
Bring a large saucepan filled with water to boil. Plunge tomatoes into water and cook for approximately 3 minutes, until skins start to split. Remove tomatoes and transfer to a bowl of cool water. Let sit a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Using the tip of a sharp knife, remove tomato skins. Place on a cutting board and dice the tomatoes; you should have about 1 1/2 cups including juices. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
Scrub mussels under cold running water. Remove beards and discard any that are open or have broken shells.
Heat oil, over low heat, in a 6-quart deep sautè pan with lid. Add parsley and garlic. Sautè until garlic begins to color, about 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in water and wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and add mussels. Cover with lid and steam mussels for about 5 minutes, until the mussels open. Turn off heat and allow to sit a minute or two longer. Serve with toasted Italian bread slices or crostini to sop up the juices.