Tomatoey Mussels

Written by David Banham

This is a very simple dish but damn tasty. Amply serves two in these quantities.


  • Mussels. Dunno how many, depends how hungry you are I suppose.
  • 2x tins of crushed tomatoes
  • 4-6 good sized cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized white onion
  • 1 large red chilli, seeds removed
  • 1 handful of parsley
  • 1 handful of basil
  • About half a bottle of white wine
  • 30 grams of butter Chop your garlic, onion and chilli. It seems like a lot of garlic, I know, but it works. Put a good bit of olive oil in the bottom of a large saucepan, season it well with salt and pepper as it heats up. Throw in the chopped ingredients and fry them until a bit soft.

Throw in the tomatoes and simmer for a minute or two, then give it the white wine and the butter. I said 30 grams but that could well be wrong. If 30 grams is a retarded amount use common sense and put in less.

While this simmers away you can use the time to wash and debeard your mussels. If a couple are already open it's no big deal, just so long as they don't look all dried out and gross. Don't forget to stir your sauce while you're doing this, though.

Once the sauce has been simmering for a while and reduced a bit dump in your mussels on top. No need to stir them in since you'll be pulling them back out again soon.

Let the mussels steam for abouy 5-6 minutes being careful not to overcook them, they go like leather. Pull them out with a slotted spoon and stick them in a really big bowl.

Simmer your sauce down some more. You want it reduced, but not to the same degree as something like a pasta sauce. You still want a decent bit of liquid that you can soak up with your bread. It should only take a couple of minutes at this point, you don't want your mussels getting too cold.

Dump the sauce over the mussels and you're done.

Serve with some fresh crusty bread, butter and white wine. We had a Semillon Chardonnay which went quite nicely. You want something with a decent acid structure so that it doesn't get completely overpowered by the garlic, but don't go for a Reisling or anything that hasn't been mallolacitcally fermented. The butteryness of a chardonnay works well with the texture of the sauce.