A favorite dish of the Neapolitan tradition mussel soup He is the hero of Holy Week in the campaign. Or at least on Maundy Thursday, when most families usually serve at the table. But what is its origin?
Mussel soup on Holy Thursday, tradition
Neapolitan Mussel Soup: A Traditional Holy Thursday Recipe
It is said that Holy Thursday began with the tradition of clam chowder Ferdinand I of Bourbon. He was so fond of fish that he asked the servants to cook him as much as he caught in Posillipo, and one evening he asked them to prepare a prized dish of mussels for him. This rich and delicious dish was baptized “Cozzeche dint’a Cannola“. However, the Dominican friar Gregorio Maria Rocco reprimanded him for his sensual eating habits and took a word from him: at least during Holy Week, Frederick I of Bourbon had to curb his gluttony. So the ruler ordered the preparation of one a more modest and light mussel soup, with only mussels, spicy pepper oil and tomato sauce. Soon, the recipe born in Lent went beyond real environments. People began to replace valuable and expensive mussels with cheap mussels and sometimes sea snails. So it became a mussel soup to be served on Maundy Thursday.
Today, mussel soup is served year-round in Naples. There are endless variations that look at tradition or rework it. But if you want to make traditional clam chowder on Maundy Thursday, this is all you need mussels, peeled tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and strong pepper sauce. The fried bread or le frieze complete the preparation.
Food of Holy Week in Naples
Not just clam chowder: Holy Week in Naples is full of traditions. Good Friday is a day of fasting or light eating anyway, and is dedicated to the preparation of pastera. On Saturday, casatiello and tortano are prepared. In both cases, they are rustic pies, the first made with five hard-boiled eggs raw and baked in their shell, the second with three egg slices in the batter. These are the typical dishes of Holy Saturday, to be consumed in the evening with meat or offal. Easter day is included in the traditional menu soup with meat and vegetablessometimes it is replaced with fresh pasta with saucethe lamb or child. And finally, the traditional pastiera.