06 February 2010

Dinner for Two ... Chicken Caesar Salad and Mussels Zuppa

Wow! What an easy dinner. Scrub the mussels, wash and spin some romaine lettuce, chop the lettuce, slice some purple onions, chop some black olives, plate the salads and add croutons and cheese, fry up some garlic and hot peppers, add some crushed tomatoes, simmer it all together for a few minutes to reduce the tomato juices, slice and throw some crusty bread in a hot oven to toast, throw the mussels and a glass of white wine into the pan and cover, boil until the mussels open up, fry up the chicken pieces for the Caesar salad, uncover the mussels and cook to reduce the zuppa while you flip the toasty bread and chop the chicken pieces, dump the mussels and zuppa in a big bowl, plate the chicken on the salads, grab the toast and chow down... slurp, crunch, sip. Salut!

This dinner really was easy... slice and dice all the ingredients and you just throw it together in step fashion... have two pans ready to deal with the zuppa and the chicken and some plates and bowls ready to plate the salads and zuppa and you're good to go.

Don't forget to slurp some of that white wine while you work... you can't go wrong!

Tonight, I wanted so much to have an Italian meal, but it's always so full of carbohydrates... and I do love my pasta. Thinking about it, though, I got the idea of a salad and a shellfish zuppa. Yes, it's good to have some toasts to soak up the broth, but I can handle a couple small pieces of bread... a plate of pasta gets way into my head. This meal is totally without the pasta, though. Totally delish, too! Guess I had my cake...

steamy mussels zuppa

Zuppa Di Cozze Alla Tarantina

courtesy of Culinaria - Italy


2½ lb. mussels
½ peperoncino, minced or 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
¾ lb. tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 glass dry white wine
salt and pepper
toasted Rustica bread

Preparing the dish:

1. Soak the mussels in two washes of cold water and scrub the outer shells clean. Discard any mussels that are opened or have broken shells after handling.

2. Sauté the garlic and peperoncino or red pepper flakes in olive oil until the garlic begins to brown … remove to a serving dish.

3. Add the tomatoes, butter, and white wine to the pan and stir down to a bubble. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Add the mussels, cover, and bring back to a boil. Boil until the shells open, shaking the pan every couple minutes (turn with a spoon, if necessary).

5. When mussel shells are open, add the garlic and peppers back into the pan, leave lid off pan and continue to boil to reduce the zuppa a bit (no more than a few minutes.)

6. Pour the zuppa and mussels into a large bowl, salt and pepper to taste, and serve with the toasted bread.

Note: Can be served as a first course or as an accompaniment to a salad … aka soup and salad light fare.


  1. Sprout Sara9/2/10 2:48 PM

    The last time I made mussels was with Cliff... and we forgot to wash them off before we started cooking them... and we had to throw them out :( It was a sad day... I haven't made mussels since.

  2. So, chickie! Now you know what to do... it was pretty easy!


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