The smell of fresh mussels brings me back to my early childhood walks with my father at Black Rock. The Australian summers where long back then in the 60's as the summer would continued through till our Easter school breaks.
We would go hunting for fresh mussels which would be against the rocks or on the posts they used to be everywhere. We would gather the fresh produce which was very exciting as my cousin Jack and I would always be together with my father Sam. The process of what we would prepare, cook and feast upon in the same afternoon became a ritual for many years, I have fond memories of my father taking us to the beach as I was a finicky eater, but loved the taste of the sea, so he knew if we had mussels or anything from the sea I would eat it.
Bare foot in the sand, listening to my father whistle his favourite tune whilst the waves crashed against the rocks in one harmonious splendid memory. Food is much more to us than we think, it is the connector of generations, when we eat certain foods we are reminded of a loved one and the memory becomes vivid.
Communing with food is one that requires mindfulness as we set aside the time to eat and enjoy the company we are sharing at the table..Buon Cibo.
This is my father's simple recipe:
1 pkt of La Molisanna Spaghetti
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
a dash of chilli /garlic
1 kilo of fresh Mussels
250 grams of fresh diced tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
Place the mussels already cleaned and ready in a non stick frying pan together with a little water and let them steam, while they are steaming you can prepare the sauce, place a little virgin and a little parsley and chilli in the pan and fry them until golden, once they have reached the exact colour of golden brown then add the tomatoes and cook while you have the pans going you can cook your spaghetti we Italians love it Al Dente, which is slightly hard to the Australians it is up to your discretion when cooking the pasta, only as the sauce loves to attach itself when it is slightly al dente.
The mussels while have opened up by this time and you can add them in the sauce and stir, set aside and leave the water as it will be part of the process of adding it in when you put the spaghetti.
Once the spaghetti is cooked just add it in the sauce and toss it around if needing to put more of the water from the mussels add it, and then add more parsley and a little more virgin olive oil.
Buon Appetito! Carmela