The wild mussels are a real delicacy … and only in the Marche they have the name “moscioli” … special and distinctive enough that there is an hymn to mosciolo …. “C’avemo i moscioli” to celebrate this really special treasure!!!
Mussels are widespread species of molluscs of the genus of Mytilus and are easily recognizable because of the elongated profile of the shell and its bluish black color. In Liguria and northern Tuscany they are called “muscles”, in Veneto “peoci” in many regions of central Italy are known as “cozze” … .and in the Marche we call them “moscioli” (I recommend the accent falls on the first o !!).
I am of Ancona and the “mosciolate” are unmissable summer evenings or lunches during the summer for everyone living in Ancona. Long tables, many scented towels to clean your hands after the feast … the good white wine Verdicchio and you have done!
The feature of moscioli found in the waters around the Monte Conero is that they reproduce spontaneously in abundance, thanks to the presence of cliffs (those of the famous Passetto, the Trave, those around the Bay of Portonovo and those that span the coast from Ancona to the port of Numana). The wild mussels of Portonovo, among others, have been included among Slow Food presidia since some years and their “harvest” is strictly regulated.
The mussels can be prepared and eaten in so many ways … To keep intact their strong taste of the sea is preferable to open them raw, with a knife, with which it also takes away the small amount of stuffing that keeps them attached to the rock, then you have to put the pulp on the pan with chopped garlic, parsley and pepper (no salt!) and with a few drops of olive oil and bake them in the oven. You can add also some bread crumbs before roasting.
You can also open it in another easier way, putting them in a pan for a few minutes on the stove (no water) until the shells do not open by themselves.
Moscioli are excellent also in a pan with their delicious sauce that is then eaten with bread, but above all are special to make a sauce for spaghetti or tagliatelle.
The Sauce with wild mussels is a specialty for fans of seafood. It can be prepared with tomato sauce, or with chopped tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and a glass of Verdicchio!
In short, a real treat for the palate which every summer becomes the star of the tables in the Marche, especially those on the coast, and people coming on holiday in the Marche have absolutely to taste this specialty!!!