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Mussels with hearty sauce

February 4, 2012


These days there are plenty of fresh live mussels available at my market. They make a great dish summer or winter. If you make a rich chunky sauce to serve them in, they form a satisfying meal.

Grilled ciabatta slices are good for mopping up the sauce and don’t forget the soup spoons when you’re serving.

Make sure the initial sauce is not too sloppy, because once the mussels open, they yield up quite a bit of liquor themselves.

This recipe will serve two generously. I allow 500g mussels per person as the mussels themselves aren’t particularly big. Adjust the vegetables if you want to serve more people.

Saute vegetables

Mussels with hearty tomato sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 medium potatoes, washed and diced
1 small head fennel, sliced
1 medium red pepper, diced
100g button mushrooms, sliced
1 small chilli, deseeded and sliced
5 medium tomatoes, chopped
handful chopped parsley
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1kg mussels, scrubbed, beards removed
handful chopped coriander leaves or parsley
sliced grilled ciabatta bread to serv

add tomatoes

Heat the oil in a large deep pan and sauté the garlic and onion till soft then add the potatoes, fennel, red pepper, mushrooms and chilli and cook on medium heat for five minutes, turning over from time to time. Don’t let it catch.

Add the tomatoes, parsley and tomato paste and stir till the paste is evenly distributed. Add the water, bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, checking from time to time to ensure there is sufficient liquid. If it has become too sloppy, reduce over a higher heat for a few minutes but keep checking progress so the sauce doesn't burn. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ciabatta bread

Brush a little oil on the sliced ciabatta and grill in the oven, on the BBQ or on a ridged grill on the stove top while you finish off the dish.

Add the cleaned mussels to the pan, cover and steam for about five minutes until all the mussels are open. Sprinkle with chopped parsley or coriander and serve.


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