Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mussels in Spicy Wine Sauce

If you like mussels, I guarantee that you will love these!  They are simple to make, and pack a lot of flavor. I'm a little crazy about this recipe.  They are a fantastic appetizer, double or triple the recipe and they would be an impressive addition to a holiday buffet or, if you are like me, you'll eat them as a main course with a salad and a crispy baguette to sop up the sauce. 

I've played with this recipe for quite a while.  I've learned a few things that I'd like to share before we start cooking.  First, buy the freshest mussels you can find.  If fresh local mussels aren't in season, I buy Prince Edward Island mussels from someplace like Whole Foods, where they label the bag of mussels with a harvest date.  This recipe calls for a lot of shallots.  I've substituted onion when I forgot to buy shallots. I have to say, the flavor that the shallots give the sauce is superior; go for the shallots and only use fresh flat-leaf parsley.   If I have fresh homemade tomato sauce or frozen sauce, I use that.  If I don't have any homemade sauce on hand, I use a good jarred sauce.  You only need a little so I like to use something like "Vincent's Original Sauce".  Lastly, use a dry white wine like a pinot grigio.  Even a semi- sweet wine will ruin this dish.  Oh, and if you are not mollusk savvy, you can refer to my note about clams in this post.  The same goes for mussels.  Be sure to discard any that do not open during the cooking process as well.

Mussels in Spicy Wine Sauce
Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot in Paris 2004
Serves 2 for main dish, 4 as a first course
  • 3 pounds mussels
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chopped shallots
  • 6 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup good quality tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 slices fresh lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper
  • 2 chopped Roma tomatoes 
  • fresh ground pepper

Scrub the mussels and de-beard. Be sure to throw out any mussels that are cracked or opened.

In a large pot, heat olive oil and melt butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomato sauce, parsley, thyme, wine, lemon, salt, and chili pepper. Bring to a boil.
Add the cleaned mussels. Stir well, then cover the pot.  Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes.  After 8 minutes add the 2 chopped tomatoes and quickly stir.  Cover, and cook another 2 minutes until all the mussels have opened.  Add some fresh ground pepper to the pot, and ladle the mussels and sauce into bowls.  Serve hot with plenty of bread to soak up the broth.
When Paul eats with his glasses on, you know he's doing some serious eating!

1 comment:

  1. Looks wonderful! Can't wait to try it.