Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mussels with white wine, garlic, and basil

Mussels have long been a staple of diets in Europe. It seems to me that currently in the U.S. mussels remain an under utilized item. Mussels are now readily available fresh in most of our modern supermarkets. Here is a simple and delicious application for one of my favorite mollusks.

Plan on using about 1 pound of mussels per person. When you get the mussels home wash them in cold water. Discard any that are open, or do not close when tapped on the counter. You may also have to tear of their "beards". Mussels have a small stringy extension outside of the shell that they use to attach themselves to things in the ocean.

There is not much of a recipe here just a list of ingredients. For two pounds of mussels, I start by sauteing one half of a finely diced red onion, and 8 cloves of crushed garlic, in olive oil over medium high heat until softened in a large stock pot. After a few dashes of salt and pepper, slide in the mussels, and 1 finely diced medium tomato into the stock pot along with 2 cups of white wine and cover. I usually prefer to use a nice chardonnay for this. The wine does get sweeter as it cooks so you want to start with something that is a little on the dry side. Let the mixture cook for 5 minutes, stir, and add 1/4 cup of finely sliced fresh basil and continue cooking for 5 more minutes or until all of the mussels have opened and the liquid has slightly reduced.
The best presentation for this meal is with some warm and crusty french bread and the same nice white wine that the mussels were cooked in. Be sure to serve with extra broth as it is great for dipping the bread in.


  1. I have been waiting for your next post! I'm SO hungry now! YUMMY! Can we come over for dinner??
    Miss you guys!

  2. These mussels sound delightful!