Each Saturday, I have found myself leaving the farmers market with a bag of mussels. They are a small and elegant shellfish native to this area. For generations, the Native Americans ate them with caution; they are very easily contaminated by red tide, an algae bloom that can make mussels dangerous to eat. These days, there is much care taken by farmers and gatherers, as well as regulations imposed by the government to prevent any accidental fatalities.
And each Saturday, with my bag of mussels, I wonder what I can do differently with them. So, this week, I pickled them. Using a Portuguese recipe from the coastal town of Aveiro, I found that the simple ingredients combine with age to make a delectable and unusual appetizer.