Shellfish Fricassee Impepata di Molluschi
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1.5kg black mussels, cleaned and prepared
1.5kg large clams, cleaned and prepared
500ml dry white wine
3 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
abundant freshly and coarsely ground black pepper
‘Impepata’ is a southern Italian dialect word for a dish full of pepper, usually applied to a dish of black mussels, with a few other shellfish when available. I have suggested clams here, but some razor clams, if small enough, would be a delightful addition.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the garlic and chilli for 1-2 minutes. Add all the shellfish, along with the wine and parsley. Put the lid on and cook until all the shells are open, about 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. They should start to open quite quickly, but keep on the heat until all are open. Discard any shells that remain closed.
Add lots of black pepper. Stir well and serve in bowls, with lots of bread to mop up the sauce.
Prepare a tomato sauce of either fresh or canned chopped tomatoes (see page 69) and add any leftover shellfish to make a delicious pasta.