Mussels, like most shellfish, require virtually no additions other than some Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Garlic to make them a tasty treat. So why do we add other ingredients? To allow them to be flavored by the mussels!
This recipe can serve as a starter or seafood course with bread to soak up the wonderful liquid flavors or as a pasta course when paired with a salad and maybe an antipasto. If you are a novice to cooking with mussels, read the Tips & Trending at the end of this recipe – you’ll learn everything you need to know.
Mussels with Chunky Marinara
Serves: 4 Total Time: 50 Minutes
• 4 Lbs. Mussels – beards removed, scrubbed and rinsed
• 1 small White Onion – finely chopped
• 4 cloves Garlic – finely chopped
• 1 cup White Wine
• 48 ounces canned diced Plum Tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon fresh Oregano – chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh Parsley – chopped
• Kosher Salt
• Fresh ground Black Pepper
• 1 tablespoon fresh Basil – chopped
• Extra virgin Olive Oil
• Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
• Cooked Linguini or crusty French Bread
Step 1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the Oil, the chopped Onion and Garlic and sauté until soft.
Step 2. Add the Wine and reduce it by half.
Step 3. Add the canned chopped Plum Tomatoes with juices, Oregano and Parsley – stir and heat until simmering.
Step 4. Add the Mussels to the pan and stir to cook for about 10 minutes until all the Mussels are open. (Discard any Mussels that do not open.)
Step 5. Serve with a sprinkling of Kosher Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper, toss the chopped Basil and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano on top and drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil over it all.
Tips and Trending
~ To serve as a Starter or Seafood Course, transfer Mussels to a large shallow bowl, sprinkle with Basil and serve with crusty French Bread for soaking up sauce. Everyone – dig In!
~ To serve as main or pasta course, mound Linguini or your favorite long pasta, tossed with Olive Oil, in the center of a platter and surround with the Mussels and sauce sprinkled with fresh Basil
~ Always provide a bowl on the table for discarded shells.
~ Preparing Mussels is actually very simple but following the rules is essential to serving healthy seafood.
First, purchase your mussels no more than one day before preparing, storing them in the refrigerator until ready for use – never freeze! In most markets mussels will come to you in a netting bag – keep them in that netting until you’re ready to cook.
Second, discard any Mussels that, if open, do not close when you handle them. Also discard any that have chips or have any other holes in their shells or that just plain smell funny. Put them in a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes tops. Once the Mussels realize that they’re under water, they will take a drink and flush out any extra salt water and sand. However, since Mussels are an animal that lives in salt water, your fresh water will begin to “put them to sleep” (euphemism intended), so no more than 20 minutes!
Third, it’s time to de-beard them. The Mussel’s beard is actually called byssal threads. Basically, this is what the little buggers use to attach themselves to rocks and other undersea stuff. Pick up the Mussel in your left hand and hold with the hinge side of the shell facing into your palm and the hinge closest to you. Using a clean pair of long (needle nosed) pliers, grasp the beard with the pliers and yank it off pulling it toward the hinge. Now wash each Mussel individually, under cold running water, using a vegetable brush and put the scrubbed Mussels in a colander in the sink. They are now ready to cook, seriously they’re not going to live much longer after the fresh water bath and de-bearding and you need to cook them now.