The moscioli of Portonovo of Ancona tipicity of Conero Riviera

In Ancona the moscioli are non-breeding mussels spontaneously reproducing on tracts of reefs in Portonovo of Ancona area, and exactly on the tract of coast that goes from Pietralacroce until the beach of Sassi Neri (black Stones) at Sirolo. They are the wild equivalent of breeding mussels and they settle the underwater side of reefs typical of this coast area; they have rich and strong sea taste and they have a firmer body than breeding mussels.

The moscioli of Portonovo of Ancona

The presence of mosciolo in this area is attested even since the former years of ‘900. Fishing mosciolo has developed over the times: initially, they fished using a sort of fork that pulled them up from reef; then, they moved to use a tool looking like a rod with at its bottom some metallic hooks; but, performing this last fishing style they pulled up both elder and younger moscioli; by the way, paradoxically, some young moscioli survived and created colonies onto other reefs. The most important reef, and for sure the most famous one, is the Trave: 5 metres width and 1 km length (both above and below sea surface level), visible by the upper side of Portonovo together with the bordering beach of Mezzavalle.

Thanks to the rising of trattorie (small restaurants) along those beaches’ banks during ’50 years period that mosciolo increased its reputation and appreciation. Nowadays, the fishing of mosciolo has got clearer rules than before, in order to preserve the constant equilibrium between its quantity fished and its capacity of reproduction. Its commercialization is particularly limited to Ancona, Sirolo and Numana and in few towns in Marche, prevalently through Fish Market or by selling directly to restaurants: mosciolo is one of the typical products offered by the restaurants of Conero Riviera.


Moscioli at marinara way

Quantities for 4 / 5 people:
1 kg of very fresh moscioli – a handful of parsley – some olive oil – one lemon – a bit of pepper.

Preparation (1 hour)

Washing accurately mussels under running water and brushing their valves (shells of moscioli); using a little sharp knife, opening raw mussels by hands without warming them up (it’s a rather demanding job, if you are not used to; but it gives as result a unique taste if compared to opening by pot cooking method).
Putting them little by little into a quite wide and capacious saucepan. Sprinkling mussels with generous olive oil and with half a lemon juice. Then covering with thinly chopped parsley and ground pepper.
Putting the lid on the pot and putting on it, cooking mussels for about five mins.
Serving them joining at the juice and the remaining lemon juice, mixing and pouring all over the mussels.

Roasted Moscioli

Quantities for 4/5 people:

1kg of fresh moscioli – 300 grs of tomatoes for sauce – 1/4 of a white wine glass – a handful of parsley – some grated bread – some olive oil
Preparation (1hour)
Washing accurately mussels under running water and brushing their valves; using a little sharp knife, opening raw mussels by hands.
Washing the tomatoes and sieve them, chopping parsley, adding grated bread and join it all with pureed tomatoes adding a glass of white wine.
Choosing the nicest and most capacious shells and putting two mussels into them; then, covering them with some of the prepared stuffing.
Putting them into a wide oven-proof dish pouring them with olive oil and putting in the hot oven (200° C) for about 15 mins.

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