the Gozo experience – mussels al cartoccio

Al cartoccio is the process of cooking by first wrapping the food in parchment paper, often with seasonings and other ingredients to add flavour, then baking it. Though the name itself indicates that paper, such as parchment, should be used, a pouch of aluminum foil is often just as effective and probably more easily available in your kitchen. A big advantage is that you’re hardly dirtying anything to make this dish and the fact that it is wrapped up while cooking keeps the flavours in while letting the food reach a higher temperature and therefor cooking faster too.

The first thing to do with muscles, especially if they’re bought fresh, is to rinse them in water several times. Let them soak for 5 minutes, throw away that water and rinse again.

When buying fresh tap the shell lightly – the mussel will close if it’s still alive. Ideally buy mussels that are alive to make sure they’re good.

Lay out the foil. Cut out two pieces that are approximately the length of 2 average shoe boxes. Place them on top of one another and place the mussels in the centre.

Fold over the foil being careful not to pierce it and make a rounded bowl leaving the top open for now.

Add a glass of wine, olive oil, chopped garlic, lemon(squeeze and throw) and parsley. These are only options, you may decide to go for something different which would work too.

Close the foil tightly at the top and place the whole thing in a hot pan for about 7 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it sit for some minutes before opening. Be careful it will be hot..


4 responses to “the Gozo experience – mussels al cartoccio

  1. same effect if not better on the bbq! 🙂

    • I spied on it being made on a grill plate (I guess it has the same effect as a BBQ) at a restaurant a couple of hours before I tried it… foil is one of my best friends in the kitchen lately 😉


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