A simple dish of the Neapolitan tradition, the peppered mussels embodies all the flavor of the sea.
”Impepata” mussels is one of the traditional Neapolitan dishes, simple to prepare and at the same time very tasty.
It involves making the mussels open on the stove, and serving them with an (abundant!) a sprinkling of pepper and with the liquid that they will have released during cooking.
As with all recipes made of few ingredients, it is essential that the raw material is of the highest quality.
All kinds of mussels
The most famous are the Spanish, so called because they were fished in the Atlantic and imported; then there are those native to the Mediterranean, up to 10 cm long, which live attached to rocks or submerged bodies.
The so-called “hairy mussels” are also very valuable, due to their hair attached to the shell. They are also recognized because they are quite small (5 cm in length) and have a purplish inside of the shell.
All mussels must have, at the time of sale, an identification mark and a label with the date of packaging and the minimum shelf life. They must be enclosed in a net and cannot be sold individually.
How to clean mussels
Once you have bought the mussels, check that they are all tightly closed, with the shell intact. Throw away those open seeds, they could be spoiled and cause poisoning.
If it is farmed mussels, the cleaning phase should be fairly quick. The rock mussels, on the other hand, have parasites on the surface that must be removed with a small knife. Then remove the byssus, the beard that keeps them tied to the rock, and rinse them in running water, rubbing them with a metal brush. Remember that, once cleaned, the mussels should be eaten within 12 hours.
How to prepare the mussel impepata
At this point, put your cleaned mussels in a large pan, cover with a lid and let the mussels open over medium heat for about 6 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In the original mussel impepata recipe, there is no oil or garlic. Add a generous amount of ground black pepper.
At this stage most of the mussels will open. Those that will remain closed are no longer good, throw them away.
Turn well, arrange in a baking dish or serving dish, adding another grind of black pepper. Be courageous! 😉
Finally add if you like a handful of chopped fresh parsley. Serve with golden croutons with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
The Mussel Impepata is ready, serve and eat immediately! … While pretending you are in Capri!