Saturday 28 January 2012

Fisherman's spaghetti with courgettes and mussels

I once read somewhere, that in a certain part of Italy the fishermen eat spaghetti with courgettes, olive oil and garlic on days when they have no fish. For some reason, I have remembered this little fact for years. This will surprise anyone who knows me and my inability to remember facts, peoples' names, even songs I love. But with food it's different and the image of these fishermen, tired from a day's hard work and salty air, worn out from the sun, the toil, but somehow essentially content from living a life so close to nature... has always stayed with me. And I have made this dish many times, with many variations, and always with a thought for the fishermen. This one was the best I've made so far. Since they are fishermen, I reasoned, it therefore follows that this kind of dish would be especially good with something that comes from the sea. I imagined a fisherman's wife casually throwing in a handful of fresh seafood into the pan. Just like the mussels that I had left over from the paella we made the other night. As you can see if you clicked on that link, the paella really couldn't handle any more of them
I felt really mean waking up the mussels by splashing cold water on them until they closed their shells, then boiling them alive, but what can you do... I boiled them in fish stock with saffron. At the same time I also boiled the spaghetti in salt water, until it was al dente. In the massive frying pan, I fried small, fine, almost translucent chunks of courgette and garlic in plenty of olive oil, and some sea salt. Finally, I added both the spaghetti and the mussels to the pan, along with a splash of the saffron stock. I cooked this for a while longer, adding more stock to make sure it didn't burn, and squeezed some lemon in right at the end. I served it with ground black pepper and some cold beer. I love to imagine that by eating this some little part of me is right there with the fishermen, in a cosy kitchen somewhere in Italy


  1. Haha, I always feel weird about cooking seafood while it's still alive too! But like you said, what can you? It's much safer to eat it fresh than already dead, and it tastes better. This looks absolutely delicious, btw :)

  2. Thanks Eva, and yes sadly that's the only way to eat it