I’m going to share something weird about myself with you today. There are many weird things about myself, so this is really just one of them. I hate clams. Don’t even eat an oyster in front of me. Blech!
But, I LOVE mussels, and this is my most favorite way to eat them. Simmered in some butter, wine and garlic isn’t bad either, but in a spicy tomato sauce will always be my first choice.
We made a large bowl of these and sat out on the deck just picking them clean. Delish!
MUSSELS IN SPICY TOMATO SAUCE:
2 lbs. Cleaned Live Mussels **See below how to clean mussels
1 – 24 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Small Onion, chopped
4 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
10 – 12 Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
1 tsp. Fresh Oregano, chopped
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Salt, to taste
Begin the tomato sauce in a large skillet. Add the oil, onion and garlic and sauté until just before the garlic begins to brown.
Add the wine and mix well, scraping up the bottom of the pan.
Add the crushed tomatoes, red pepper flakes, oregano and salt to taste. Stir well, place on simmer and cover, stirring occasionally so you don’t burn the bottom of the sauce.
Go through the bag of mussels and discard any mussels that have cracked and broken shells. If you have any mussels that are slightly open, don’t discard them right away by assuming they are dead. Tap the mussel several times. If it’s still alive it will close immediately. If it doesn’t close after a few taps, discard the mussel since it’s no longer alive.
In a large bowl filled with cold water (I actually use 1/2 of my double-sided sink), cover the mussels with cold water and allow to soak for about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the mussels and remove the beards. The beard is a tough stringy substance stuck on the outside of some of the mussels. Grasp the edge of the beard and pull down firmly towards the hinge of the mussel and remove.
Scrub the outside of each mussel with a hard brush to remove any debris or barnacles on the outside of each shell. Place in a colander and give them a final rinse under cold water and set to the side for a few minutes.
Add your fresh basil to the tomato sauce, stir well, and prepare to add your mussels. Add all the mussels to the tomato sauce, stir gently and cover immediately. Keep covered for 3 minutes. Remove the cover, give another gentle stir, cover and allow to cook for an extra 3 to 4 minutes. You don’t want to over cook these for any longer than a total of 7 minutes or the muscles will turn tough and chewy.
Once done, remove any mussels that did not open and discard. Take the remaining mussels and gently spoon them into a large dish and cover with sauce. Serve with some sliced lemon for squeezing, sit back and enjoy.
Make sure to use that crusty Italian bread to soak up all that delicious sauce.
You could always serve these over some cooked spaghetti, but I prefer them just the way they are.