Video: How to make a seafood soup Neapolitan style

Mauro Farella, from Italy, shows how to make a seafood soup Neapolitan style.

Mauro Farella.
Mauro Farella.
Mauro Farella, his wife Carmen Stinga and their son Marco (now 5) came to Dunedin in 2009 when Mauro took up the position of professor of orthodontics at the University of Otago School of Dentistry.
 
Since then they have had another child, Terence, who is nearly 2.
 
They come from Naples in the south of Italy and took time to adjust to the Dunedin climate, he said with a laugh.
They enjoy living and cooking in Dunedin.
 
Although food is more expensive than in Italy, it is good quality.
 
However, they miss some of the Italian cheeses. They cannot find buffalo mozzarella like that produced near Naples, he said.

They both enjoy cooking. He particularly likes quick easy dishes that taste delicious, he says.

In Naples this shellfish soup would include a wide variety of clams. Crab meat, prawns or crayfish are also nice in it.

 


Mauro's Neapolitan mussel and clam soup. Photos by Gregor Richardson.
Mauro's Neapolitan mussel and clam soup. Photos by Gregor Richardson.
Shellfish soup, Neapolitan style
serves 4 as a starter
 
Ingredients
1kg fresh mussels
1kg fresh clams
150-200ml sauvignon blanc
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion or ¼ of a larger one
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 400g can roma tomatoes, whole, peeled without juice
plenty of Italian parsley
black pepper
salt to taste
slices of ciabatta bread, toasted briefly, to serve.

 

Method

Scrub mussels and clams, and remove any beards from the mussels.

Put the shellfish in a large pot over medium heat. Pour over a generous glass of white wine and cover. Watch the pot and as the shellfish open, move them to a bowl. The clams will open first, then the mussels. Discard any that don't open.

When all are opened, strain the cooking liquid through a fine strainer and set aside.

Chop the onion and garlic finely. Saute in a large frying pan in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Take care not to brown the garlic or it will be bitter. Add the tomatoes without the juice and squash them with the back of a spoon. Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.

While the tomato sauce is cooking, shuck the shellfish, leaving a few in their shells for garnish. Make sure the beards and any tough bits of mussel are removed.

Add some of the cooking liquid to the tomato sauce. If there is not enough to make a nice consistency, add water, and if there is too much use only what you need. Turn down the heat and simmer for another five minutes then add the mussels and clams. Stir, wait for a minute then turn off the heat. Sprinkle with plenty of chopped parsley and season to taste. Salt is not usually required.

Serve in bowls with lightly toasted ciabatta slices, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

 


Tips

• Don't overcook the shellfish as this will make them tough.

• Use a quality extra-virgin olive oil as this significantly improves the taste. Mauro uses Italian.

• Fresh cherry tomatoes can be added to the sauce in summer.

• This sauce can also be used for spaghetti. Make the sauce a little thicker by cooking longer or adding less reserved cooking liquid.

• This can also be served as a main, just make the portions bigger.

• Greenshell mussels can be pale or an orange colour. The pale ones are females and the darker ones male and he thinks the males taste better, he says.

 


Thanks to Afife Harris and Centre City New World.