Friday, June 4, 2010

Mussels Marinara

This is one of those recipes that my mom has been making since I was little. She used to read it off an old folded up sheet of yellow notebook paper with the recipe hand written on it, but by now she can make it from memory. I'm sure it was adapted from some recipe torn out of a newspaper or magazine years ago, and certainly the amounts of ingredients have changed with each making. Today we had two onions so that's what went it. However, the basic principles of the recipe have remained the same and the results are always delicious.

Mussels marina is essentially mussels cooked in a quick tomato sauce. The onions and garlic give it a good spice, and the parsley brightens up the flavor. Serve it with plenty of good crusty bread to sop up the sauce alongside the mussels. Its a great appetizer to serve with family and friends; everyone crowds around the bowl, dipping their bread to grab the last drops of sauce.

Mussels are probably the cheapest type of seafood and are extremely easy to cook (mine were just over $3 a pound). They only need to be steamed in some sort of favorable liquid or sauce for a few minutes. The only somewhat difficult part of using them is cleaning them. I placed mine in a large colander and ran water over them to keep them cold.

I threw away any that had cracks in the shells because they might be dead. I also removed their beards, a hairy clump poking out of the shell. Not all the mussels have them. This is what a beard looks like:

Just pull it out with your hands. Keep the mussels in the colander until ready to use.

The sauce is simple. Cook onions and garlic in oil then add some wine (save the rest to drink with it).

Then add the tomatoes with the spices and cook until they break down and become sauce-like:

Finally, the mussels are thrown into the pot with the sauce.

They are done when they open up. The whole dish is topped with a handful of parsley.

Mussels Marinara

Olive oil
2 small cooking onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
2 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes
2 tsp. oregano
4 lbs. mussels, cleaned
1/3 cup chopped parsley
Bread for serving

1. Coat the bottom of a large pan or dutch oven with olive oil and place over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for a minute.

2. Pour in the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Reduce to half the original volume.

3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the oregano, and salt to taste. Used a spoon to break up the tomatoes. Simmer the sauce for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning.

4. Add the mussels to the pot and turn up the heat. Cover and cook until the mussels open up, about 6-8 minutes. If any mussels do not open up, discard them.

5. Pour the contents of the pan into a serving bowl. Top with parsley and serve with bread.

The recipe fed 5 of us as an appetizer with leftovers. Its very easy to cut in half to serve 2 or 3. I've never done it, but I'm sure you could also serve this over pasta.

1 comment:

  1. Cate, This totally rocks. I keep hearing rumors about your fabulous cooking, and now, I can see it, and --- ALMOST -- taste it. Encore!! Encore!