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Ligurian Mussel Soup

  • First Courses
This flavorful Italian dish can be found along the entire coast of the peninsula. It is light, but satisfying.

Ingredients: Per 4 servings

  • 2 lb mussels
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • bread, roasted


Throroughly clean and wash the mussels, open them in a pot over high heat, in very little water. Drain them and keep the liquid they have produced.

Chop a clove of garlic and a clump of parsley and sauté them in oil, then add the tomato paste and dry white wine.
Cook for 10 minutes, add the mussels and 2-3 ladlefuls of their warm cooking liquid and leave to gain flavor for a further 5 minutes.

Lay a slice of toasted bread in the individual soup dishes and pour on top the mussels and the stock. Serve hot.

Food History

Grown for thousands of years in central Asia and then throughout the rest of the world, garlic has always been loved for its flavor, and avoided for its smell. In fact, in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Shakespeare advises the actors not to eat garlic so that they can address the public with “sweet words.”
Although today the medical benefits of garlic are not well known, they were very important in ancient times. Although the first documentation of the side effects of garlic was written in Sanskrit, it was the ancient Egyptians who first considered the plant a sort of cure-all for any type of disease. The pharaohs even believed that garlic gave them strength and resilience. Herodotus, the Greek historian, wrote that during the 20-years needed to build the pyramids, Cheops spent a considerable amount of silver to buy 1500 tons of garlic for his workers. It is believed that the Egyptians liked the garlic so much that they decided to strike when the Nile overflowed into the nearby fields, destroying the garlic.

Did you know that...

During World War II the Russian doctors, having used up all of their medicine, used garlic to heal soldiers’ wounds?

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