By Erica Zollo
As part of the editorial team at seasonedfork, my research often consists of tasting food, trying out recipes and drinking wine. So when our chef-editor, asked me to share my mother’s Zuppa Di Pesce that I was bragging about in the office, I took a break from the summer sun and got in the kitchen with Mom.
In our Italian-American household, our version of a summer seafood meal has nothing to do with a lobster roll. It would not be summer without my favorite family recipe of Zuppa Di pesce; especially when all the ingredients can be procured at our local seafood market, Southold Fish Market. The cacophony of sounds from my mother’s pots and pans, the heavy, but heavenly, aroma of garlic, chardonnay and fresh tomatoes fills me with the anticipation of dipping a fresh piece of Italian bread into the seafood filled sauce. This dish reminds me of many seaside celebrations, dinners and the smiling faces of my loved ones dipping their spoons and sharing their laughter as the sun sets on the North Fork.
If you try this recipe, I guarantee that every friend and family member will be eagerly waiting to be a regular guest in your summer kitchen. Buon Appetito!
2 lbs. mussels
2 lbs. little neck clams
1 lb. shrimp, peeled & de-veined
1 lb. calamari, skinned, cleaned (remove ink sac and pen)
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with basil
6 cloves crushed garlic
Crushed red pepper, to taste
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chardonnay
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
several leaves of fresh basil
Clean and scrub clams and de-beard mussels. Fill sink with cold water and sprinkle 2 heaping tablespoons of flour into water. Dump clams and mussels in water bath for 10 minutes.
This process forces the clams and mussels to “spit” out any sandy residue. Rinse well and drain.
While the shellfish is soaking, melt butter and olive oil in a large saucepan/wok and add chopped garlic. Saute garlic being careful to avoid burning. Add a sprinkle of red pepper and a 1/2 cup (or more) of chardonnay and reduce for 3-4 minutes. Add tomatoes and taste for sweetness. If necessary, add 1 tbsp of sugar and 3-4 leaves of chopped fresh basil. Let simmer for 5-8 minutes. Add some water if tomatoes become too thick. Taste and adjust salt & pepper. Add clams first, allowing for the sauce to start a slight boil. Once the clams are starting to open, add mussels and stir to cover mussels. Once the mussels start to open, add shrimp and calamari, covering them with sauce (thereby needing a pot capable of incorporating all of the seafood). Turn off heat when calamari and shrimp become opaque. Top with chopped parsley (and cilantro, if desired). Just prior to serving, drizzle a thin stream of extra virgin olive oil over seafood. Serve with crusty bread and tossed salad. You may also serve leftovers the next day with linguine to absorb all of the wonderful juices. A fresh green salad as the starter and the best crusty bread for dipping along with a great bottle of a light bodied red wine like la Tavola from Raphael Winery.
Enjoy a side of freshly tossed salad with balsamica