By Dave “Pops” Masch
The most dismal season, the most oppressive and demoralizing here on Cape Cod, runs from February until early April. There is usually little sunshine, plenty of rain, and a few bright snowfalls to relieve the boredom. The few brilliant days after the snowfall all too soon turn back to low clouds overhead, mud underfoot, and dirty snow sludge along the roads. A friend, which friend I have forgotten, coined a name for this season. He calls it Farch, an ominous word fitting a gray season. When I went to sea as a young man, I usually managed to get to tropical climes during this season, callously leaving my family at home to cope. I no longer have that option – so what to do to pass through Farch?
I know I could go ice fishing, but the ice around here has been unsafe in recent winters, providing me with an excuse to sit at home and brood. I am not good at brooding for very long, so I light a fire, get out my 50-plus seed catalogs and spend too much money on too many seeds and plants for next summer’s fantasy garden. I also read fishing magazines, look at gear catalogs, and muse about fishing to come, if we survive Farch once more.
This musing about fishing leads to thoughts of eating fish and cooking them. This recipe experiment was made possible by two members of my family, one generation down, who have provided me with shellfish once again; this time it was a gallon of scrubbed mussels.
Steamed Mussels Portuguese
3 to 5 lbs. mussels
1 cup dry (cheap) white wine (vinho verde or pinot grigio)
¼ pound sliced linguica or chourico
¼ stalk sliced celery
1 small onion sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
4 sprigs parsley
Put everything but the mussels in a pot big enough to hold all the mussels and bring to a boil. Simmer about one minute, dump in the mussels, cover the pot, and cook until the liquid nearly bubbles over. Turn down heat and steam for about a minute longer, and there you have it, lovely mussels, a delicious broth to serve them with, and a feather in your culinary cap.
Serve the mussels with broth, melted butter, crusty bread, a green salad and more wine, and Farch will begin to lose its depressing dreariness.
Fire, Booze & Cherrystones
Steamed, stuffed or grilled quahogs make for excellent fare.
Cooking The Catch 1 & 2 Combo
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