Catholic Recipe: Mussels in Tomato Sauce, Tuscany Style
Also Called: Cozze alla Toscana
This saint was highly honored throughout the whole Church from the earliest times. In Constantinople, the ancient capital city of the Eastern Roman Empire, no fewer than fifteen churches were dedicated to him. The fact that Christ praised him so highly (Matthew 11:11) encouraged a special veneration, of course.
A popular feature of St. John's Day is the celebration of the ancient summer festival of the pre-Christian era. From Scandinavia to Spain, fires are lighted on mountains and hilltops, people gather in the open around a bonfire on the eve of the feast and perform their traditional folk dances.
The Church has a special blessing for the "St. John's Bonfire," and in many places wine is also blessed in honor of the Saint. Various traditional pastries or desserts are eaten on St. John's Day in different sections of Europe. Also, the first products of the spring harvest are served on this day in rural sections of southern Europe.
Scrape, brush, wash grit from mussels. Place mussels in large pan with wine, water, onion, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper; cover; cook shaking pan periodically. Cook until mussels open.
Remove mussels from liquor. Remove shells and black weed from tongues. Reserve.
Heat butter in saucepan. Add tomatoes; simmer gently 10 minutes. Stir to a pulp. Add mussels. Simmer 5 more minutes. Serve in tomato sauce on triangles of garlic bread.Recipe Source: Catholic Cookbook, The by William I. Kaufman, The Citadel Press, New York, 1965