Thursday, May 01, 2008

Shells or no Shells?

I am still asked, when preparing spaghetti con le cozze (spaghetti with mussels), should one leave the shells on the mussels? I covered this nicely in my book The Food of Southern Italy:

“When I left Puglia, the battle was still raging between two old men I had met in a restaurant there about whether it is necessary to remove the shells from the mussels of spaghetti con le cozze or not. One felt the shell look unsightly on the plate, and no host or hostess who wanted to make a bella figura (“look good”) would do such a thing. The other man maintained you get more flavor with the shells left on, and if your hosts were really considerate, they would let you pick them up and suck on them to get every last drop of sauce. It really depends on the host and guests, whether to shell the mussels or not. Me? I never take the shells off!”

by Carlo Middione from The Food of Southern Italy, William Morrow, 1987

That should settle it!


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