Mussels Sautéed  

(“Mitili Scoppiati”) 

(“Cozze cu Limiuni”) 



The mussels steamed in salt water, garlic and parsley are served with lemon wedges. 

Usually they are eaten sprinkled with lemon juice and with an occasional morsel of bread and a sip of a fresh and light wine.  

This recipe is easy to make once you prepare it a few times, it can be offered as an appetizer, or as a healthy snack after a card game or while waiting for dinner time. 

At Mondello or Sferracavallo, two of the summer resort towns just outside Palermo and alla Marina, also known as il Foro Italico, street vendors cook the mussels briefly in boiling sea water and serve them with wedges of lemon and black pepper. If I close my eyes and go back in time, I can still taste the salty-sweetness of the mussels, the pleasant smell and acidity of the lemons, and the pungent taste of the black pepper: a mixture of flavors that combine into those delicious morsels, the cozze al limone. 




  • 3 lbs mussels, cleaned  
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil  
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced 
  • fresh parsley, chopped 
  • salt and pepper, to taste  
  • Quartered lemons 
  • fresh parsley twigs for garnish  


 Cozze Scoppiate




The Mussels 


Wash the mussels in cold water and set aside. 

In a 4 quart saucepan place 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the sliced garlic cloves; turn the heat to high and as soon as the garlic is fragrant add the mussels, 1 cup of water mixed with a teaspoon of salt. When it starts to boil, bring heat to a low and simmer covered for 5 minutes, shaking occasionally. 

At this point all mussels should be open, discard any unopened. 

With a slatted spoon, transfer the mussels into a serving platter, spoon  over some of the cooking liquid, garnish with the parsley twigs, the quartered lemons and some freshly ground black pepper. And, do not forget the bread!... 

A young California Chablis or a Sicilian Regaleali Bianco are wines that go well with the mussels and that can be served as a casual aperitif.