Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Peppery Mussel Stew
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
A mussel is a type of bivalve mollusk that can be found in fresh water lakes, streams, and creeks, along with the salty intertidal zone where oceans meet the shore. Like many other shellfish, they are cultivated and caught in the wild to serve as food for humans, and they also have a number of predators in the natural environment. This mollusk is also much more popular in Europe and parts of the Asia than North America, where only a small portion of the population is interested in mussels as a food source. This recipes is commonly known as “m’pepata” in the Neapolitan dialect, but the dish if found along any coastal areas of Europe.
There are of course variations in every port. For instance in the city of Taranto in the Apulia region of Italy, tomato is added to the base, soaked up by thick rustic slices of artisanal bread. You may also add bread to this recipe, and use the same ingredients if you are using clams instead, adding another minute or so to the cooking time. When choosing fresh mussels be certain that they are all closed. Open mussels prior to cooking, need to be discarded.
4 garlic cloves, minced
Grated zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup Italian parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh basil. Sliced thin
1-1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
¼ teaspoon salt
Place the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, basil, and pepper in a deep pot. Add the olive oil and heat gently until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Taste for salt, add some if needed, and serve the mussels hot, in bowls, with their cooking juices.
Related Slideshow: 21 Things You Must Eat and Drink in RI This Summer
Summer is prime margarita season, and if you're an aficionado, you've probably tried them all.
But if you're thirsting for a new twist on a cool classic, look no further than the El Mamacita at Milk Money in Providence. The South Water Street eatery is one of the hottest new additions to the Rhode Island restaurant scene, with a cooler than cool basement interior.
So you can sip this amazing concoction of Tequila blanco, prickly pear,
meyer lemon, and elderflower in the chill inside interior, or try the outdoor patio, with palm trees, picnic benches, and an industrial chic vibe - it's a mini-getaway right here in Providence.
So here is how the story goes, "Perry Raso started digging littlenecks in Point Judith Pond when he was 12 years old. He grew up wild-harvesting shellfish, eel trapping, bull-raking clams and scuba diving for steamers."
Now, the place -- and the oysters -- often get ranked as the very best in America.
Not bad for an ambitious 12 year old -- and lucky for us, amazingly delicious. Literally, from pond to plate.
Take in the beautiful views of the Block Island Sound enjoying the delicious clam cakes at George's of Galilee.
George's of Galilee opened in 1948 and offers customers five different dining rooms, two floors and outdoor dining. Before you go, be sure to check the schedule for live entertainment that is taking place.
Snowball in Hell
You have not had dessert until you have had a Snow Ball in Hell from the Clarke Cooke House in Newport. This is a must on any bucket list for food in Rhode Island, because for one thing, you're not getting it anywhere else. If you like ice cream, chocolate, coconut and decadent goodness, this is for you.
The Clarke Cooke House is the heartbeat of Newport and is known for innovative cuisine (and late night dancing downstairs in the Boom Boom Room). The well preserved 18th century dining rooms make it truly an unparalleled Newport experience.
Not much is better than a lobster roll with big hunks of fresh lobster meat. While there are numerous places to partake in Rhode Island, few spots are more beautiful that sitting in an Adirondack chair on the lawn at Castle Hill in Newport.
Things have been beautiful and romantic at the Inn since 1875. Mix the two together and you may reach summer nirvana.
It's true what they say -- breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And what better spot to have it at than the Newport Shipyard, which is both a working waterfront, and a dock for some downright spectacular boats.
And in Rhode Island's proud seafaring - and Portuguese - tradition, the Azores omelet is just one of a number of mouth-watering options at Belle's Cafe, which is open for lunch as well. With chourico and monteray jack cheese, this breakfast option will kick-start your day in Newport (and is garnished with a superb attention-to-detail fruit garnish to cleanse your palate).
This hidden gem is becoming more and more well-known, so get an early bird start to the day if you want to get in-and-out. But if you're on vacation, take a deep breath and relax -- you're in one of the most beautiful spots in the world.
Clam "Chowdah" Pizza
Rooftop at the Providence G
One of the most spectacular spots in the city, the Rooftop at the Providence G is one of the hottest places to chill come nighttime -- the scene is hip, the drinks are plenty, and one dish in particular says "summer in Rhode Island" - their clam "chowdah" pizza.
What dish could be a more perfect combination of the best the state has to offer? The Rooftop at the G has a wood-oven pizza for any number of delectable pies, but combine that with the best of what makes New England clam chowder so fantastic -- smoked bacon, native claims, potatos, and oyster crackers -- and you might just think you are in a dream. Is this heaven? No, it's chowdah.
Going to Del's is a must, but if you are going to go, make sure to get the lemon flavor. It's the original.
Del's Lemonade was born in Cranston, Rhode Island in 1948 and has since become a worldwide brand.
Dels is a summer must. Remember, no straw now. That's cheating.
What's better than Portuguese Paelha? How about the fact that along with it, you should have some Sangria as well? Make this bucket list combination happen at Madeira Restaurant in East Providence.
Madeira was established in East Providence in 1987 and serves traditional Portuguese cuisine of the best quality. All meals at Madeira are cooked to order. Madeira has been a staple of Providence for nearly thirty years for good reason.
PHOTO: FLICKR imcountingufoz 5800
Baked Stuffed Lobster
Take and unspoiled view of the water and mix it with a traditional baked stuffed lobster, and you have the ultimate seafood dinner.
First of all , there are few restaurants with as pretty a view as the Lobster Pot in Bristol, and the place is a classic -- it has been perched over the water since 1929.
The baked stuff lobster cannot get enough melted butter. This meal is not for the faint of heart - you must be on a mission to complete it. You should choose to accept it.
Feel free to have anything, but an Awful Awful and grilled hot dog make you real Rhode Island. The clown sundae is a close second, but for that you generally should be under 12.
Newport Creamery originally opened in 1940 and locations have ebbed and flowed, but currently there are 12 locations -- ten in Rhode Island and two in Massachusetts.
Test your Rhode Island knowledge and see if you can rattle them off! Don't cheat, the list is here.
The quintessential Rhode Island destination for doughboys, clam cakes, and chowder in Warwick recently added on a creamery, so if you've still got room after the delectable lunch, dinner, and OK, anytime fare, you're in for a treat.
The best of both words collided when Iggy's put forth its doughboy sundae. That's right, they improved upon perfection. Why have ice cream, why have doughboys, when you can have both?
In a state where ice cream options abound, think outside the cone next time you're looking for a dessert. Think Iggy's.
Bacon Bloody Mary
Whether it's the hair of the dog, a brunch cocktail to start the day, or you really just like your vodka and tomato juice with a little something extra, the Bacon Bloody Mary at Two Ten Oyster Bar in South Kingstown is just the start.
The beverage begins with house infused bacon vodka, the requisite bacon slice, and a celery stalk, but that's just the start. Add a U8 shrimp? Why not. How about an oyster on top of that? Sure! And if that's not enough, an antipasto skewer with olives, pepperoni, and cheese can be tacked on.
And if that's not enough of a meal in a glass, there's plenty to accompany it at Two Ten Oyster bar, who has one of the best sushi and gluten-free menus in the state. Cheers!
Luigi's has been making "the good kind" of calamari since 1976 in Johnston, and while there are plenty of places to get calamari in Rhode Island, Luigi's has it right.
Their calamari is tossed with sliced hot peppers in a garlic butter. Not the wanna-be type. This is the real deal.
And since opening, Luigi's has served great food at great prices ever since. If you are unable to stick around for dinner, be sure to check out the gourmet express and get dinner to go.
The folks down in Westerly describe this seasonal brew as follows:
"This Belgian Wit summer offering is representative of the white beers made in the Wallonia region of Belgium. The pronounced yeast characteristic and subdued spicing of our Belgian Wit offer a refreshing, unfiltered beer…perfect for those hot Summer days."
It is available from just May to August on draft only and in 16-ounce cans at a number of fine establishments and down in their tasting room.
If you've ever ventured down for a picturesque drive to Little Compton, you've likely passed Evelyn's in Tiverton. And if you've never stopped in, make a bee line for it now for some of the best clam cakes, chowder, and fried seafood the state has to offer (and they've got a gluten-free menu, you can't go wrong with fresh lobster!).
So as you enjoy your quintessential Lil' Rhody fare right next to the water, kick up your summer fun a notch with their shark margarita. The blue waters are made possible thanks to blue curacao, of course, but it's the swedish fish found swimming throughout that up the whimsy of this delicious cocktail with a kick (and here's hoping not a bite!).
There are few better success stories in RI than the Nunes family's transformation of their Middletown farm into a growing and exciting vineyard, event-mecca and expanding selection of eateries.
The Sauvignon Blanc is a find. "Dry, with hints of passionfruit and gooseberries, with a crisp, palate-cleansing finish. Sancerre style." A surprise on Aquidneck Island.
Quite possible Rhode Island's most exciting restaurant, Los Andes is known for dozens of delicacies -- and lobster paella is that magical dish that combines a unique collection of Peruvian spices coupled with amazing fresh lobster.
There are few meals that melt in your mouth, everytime you taste it, but this dish is such.
We hate to highlight Los Andes because we want it to be our little secret, but the lines are often out the door almost every night. That miiight be the hint that the secret is out.
Crispy Sushi at Cafe Nuovo outside during a WaterFire is about as cosmopolitan as a Rhode Islander can get. The fusion cusine is expressed with the yellowfin tuna, avocado, korean chili enoki, honeycrisp apple, crispy rice.
Have a cocktail, watch the fires - and gondolas -- and take in all the delights for your senses that Cafe Nuovo has to offer.
Chef Jules Ramos work in the Café Nuovo kitchen comes with "a pedigree that includes more than 25 years of experience." You're in good hands.
Spain of Narragansett has been a South County classic since it opened nearly 30 years ago, and a go-to spot for a fun evening out -- and yes, their sangria certainly plays a part!
Being by the sea, you can sample a bit of it all in their Mariscada Spain, with lobster, clams, mussels, shrimp, and scallops tossed with tomatoes, spinach, brandy, and sherry.
In a state known for its seafood, Spain's dishes, and its paella in particular, are almost a world apart -- if not an ocean!
Alaskan King Crab
The Alaskan King Crab at the Providence seafood restaurant is a massive portion of deliciousness.
Fresh, crisp and consistent.
"An adventure-loving fellow with a passion for fishing and a knack for hospitality inspired his grandson to found Hemenway’s. Over 30 years later, his spirit and enthusiasm still motivate our dedicated team," is the story of Charles Martin Hemenway who sparked Ned Grace to create the dining exeperience.
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