Mussels in Tomato Sauce
For 2-3 servings:
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
black pepper, to taste
1 kg fresh (live) mussels
400g can whole or diced tomatoes in juice
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1-2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
In this simple recipe, mussels, wine, garlic, tomatoes and basil combine to make a beautiful and delicious topping for pasta, rice or to serve on their own with crusty bread. Amazingly, asides from the very little in the mussels (predominantly good oils anyway), it’s also virtually fat free.
Place the chopped garlic, wine, dried basil, and black pepper in a large pan or pot with a close-fitting lid, and heat to boiling.
While the liquid heats, remove the mussels’ beards (grab firmly and pull!), and scrub the shells if you think necessary. When the wine is boiling add the mussels, then cover tightly with the lid and steam for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the opened mussels to another dish. Re-cover the remaining mussels and steam for another 1-2 minutes. Collect the opened mussels and discard any that have still not opened.
Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste and half of the fresh basil, if using, to the wine-mussel liquid and leave to simmer over a medium heat, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Tip the mussels (plus any accumulated liquid) back into the sauce. As soon as the mussels have heated through again, lift them out and arrange them in serving bowls (arrange cooked pasta or rice in the bottom first, if desired). Top them with the sauce and remaining chopped basil.
Serve immediately, accompanied with a crisp green salad and bread. (Don’t forget to have dish for the empty shells handy.)
Note: If you prefer, remove the steamed mussels from their shells and add them to the sauce just before serving. Fresh parsley also works well in place of the fresh basil.