Impepata di cozze, or “a ‘mpepata e cozze,” as it is called in Naples, is an inexpensive and quick-to-make Neapolitan dish.
These are fresh mussels that are cooked in a pot with the entire shell on and, finally, seasoned with a generous sprinkling of pepper.
They can be served as an appetizer as well as a tasty main course of a seafood-based dinner.
Impepata di cozze originated as a dish of the less affluent sections of the population in Campania, but also throughout southern Italy.
The first to ennoble them was Frederick I of Bourbon. Later, Salerno chef Vincenzo Corrado included this dish in his “Cuoco Galante,” a 1773 cookbook containing all the must-have dishes on the tables of aristocrats.
- 4 lb of mussels
- a generous amount of black pepper
- parsley to taste
- lemon to taste
Start by cleaning the mussels: remove any broken mussels, rinse them under running water, remove the byssus (if present) and remove any encrustations from the shell with a steel straw or the tip of a knife.
Now cook them in a pan with the top on high heat until the seafood has opened.
Discard the remaining closed mussels.
Then add a very generous dose of pepper and mix well.
If you like, pour in chopped parsley and serve with a lemon wedge.
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