Here's the culprit! As you all probably know already, I love to try out dishes particular to an area, or even to a specific day. Today is giovedi santo, or Holy Thursday, and today the thing to eat here in Naples is zuppa di cozze. I happened to find a restaurant very close to my house serving this mussel "soup" street side, take-away style. So, 9 euros later, I have dinner all ready! (Or so I thought...)
While waiting for my order to be prepared I was transfixed by the amazing process of preparing the soup. Rather large aluminum trays filled with mussels, octopus, bread and what I thought were olives. These were then drenched a few times with hot water, which was then completely drained from the tray. From there, a lady bathed the whole affair in a clear, bright red sauce. Wrapped in aluminum foil, it seemed like a quick, easy and delicious dinner.
Not so much. While I can't complain about the octopus, the mussels were pretty gritty and some even contained little pieces of shells. I was expecting the red sauce to be super spicy and tasty, but I didn't pick up on either taste or spice. The worst part, however, were the "olives." Oh, once I peeled back the aluminum foil, I noticed they were not olives. They were snails. And slimy ones to boot.
I'm not sure if the zuppa di cozze is like this everywhere, or if I just picked the wrong spot. I'll try it again somewhere else, but this may be one seafood dish I'd rather pass up...