Monday, September 12, 2016

Zuppa di Cozze

     Italian Mussel Soup!
     Zuppa di Cozze is a quick and easy healthy Italian specialty that tastes very nice!  Zuppa di Cozze is a stewed mussel soup that is cooked to order (a la minute).  The broth is made first, then the mussels are stewed for a short time in the broth.  The jus from the mussels thoroughly flavors the broth.  Zuppa di Cozze is always made to order and it is never made ahead of time.  Bread is nearly always served with this soup, so the rich mussel broth can be easily sopped up.
     Many modern recipes refer to Zuppa di Cozze as being mussels in a tomato sauce and the sauce is described as being thick.  Many of these same recipes look much more like Mussels Marinara, rather than Zuppa di Cozze.  Traditionalists know that the oldest Zuppa di Cozze recipes were created long before tomatoes were introduced to Italy from the new world, so the consistency of the liquid should be like a rich broth.  

     Garlic Bread:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     The garlic bread can be made while the Zuppa di Cozze simmers.
     Step 1:  Place 1 teaspoon of minced garlic in a cup.
     Add 1/3 cup of olive oil.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Brush 5 slices of Italian bread with the garlic oil.
     Place the garlic bread on a baking pan.
     Lightly toast the garlic bread slices in a 350ºF oven.
     Keep the garlic bread warm on a stove top.      

     Zuppa di Cozze: 
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  
     Zuppa di Cozze should be made to order!
     Step 1:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced celery.
     Add 1/3 cup of diced onion.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 cup of imported Italian canned crushed plum tomatoes.
     Simmer the tomatoes for 1 minute.
     Step 3:  Add 1/3 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 1/2 cups of whitefish broth (fumet) or light shrimp broth.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 2 pinches of oregano.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Step 4:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
     *Allow the volume of the broth to reduce to 2 cups.  Add more broth if necessary.
     Step 5:  Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 15 to 20 cleaned whole blue mussels.
     Place a lid on the pan.
     Stew the mussels in the zuppa broth for 5 minutes.
     Step 6:  Remove the lid.
     Discard any mussels that do not open.
     Keep the Zuppa di Cozze warm over very low heat.
     Step 7:  Remove the bay leaf.
     Add 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil to the soup, while gently shaking the pan.
     Step 8:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Ladle the Zuppa di Cozze into a large soup bowl.
     Arrange the mussels in the bowl, so they look nice.
     Wedge the garlic bread slices between the mussels and rim of the soup bowl.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped Italian Parsley over the Zuppa di Cozze.

     The aroma of Zuppa di Cozze is captivating!  

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