Friday, June 5, 2009

Chilli Mussels

Mussels are possibly one my favourite shellfish - I enjoy cooking it at home because they require only a few minutes of cooking paired with a few carefully selected complementary flavours and a good bottle of white wine to bring it to life. I have to admit though, that I often order mussels when out at a restaurant as well. Usually easy dishes (or things I can make myself at home) are those I avoid ordering. Mussels are diverse, they can be served up in so many different ways along with fish or other types shellfish as well as making the perfect partner for spiced pork sausage or a shoulder of ham.

This recipe is simple to prepare and a sure fire crowd pleaser - a hearty tomato and white wine base is punched up with saffron, chili flakes and Italian parsley.

Serves 4

Ingredients: 2 kg black mussels, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, 15 saffron threads, 1 kg tinned peeled tomatoes, 3 tblsp tomato puree, 185 ml white wine, 1 handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Method: Scrub the mussels and remove the beards. Rinse well in cold water and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté the chili, garlic and saffron for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up as you stir. Mix in the tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes. Bring to the boil and add the mussels. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, or until all the mussels have opened, discarding any that don’t.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and remove the mussels to four warmed bowls. Add the white wine to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the white wine to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes before ladling the hot liquid over the mussels. Garnish with the parsley and serve with warm crusty bread.

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