I first had mussels when I went home with a friend in college for the weekend. What an amazing meal! It’s great to eat just about any time of the year; it feels elegant, yet rustic, and it’s pretty easy to make. I made this recipe when we had our pastor over for dinner, and it was the perfect dish to enjoy while having good conversations.
- 6-7 lbs mussels (if your fishmonger sells mussels in netted bags, grab 2-3 bags)
- 1 cup flour
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups shallots, peeled and chopped
- 2 heads (full bulbs) of garlic, peeled and minced
- 8 oz can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1/4 cup thyme leaves
- 2 cups good white wine (use something you would drink, not “cooking wine”)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Clean mussels: place mussels in a large bowl with enough water to cover the mussels by a couple of inches. Sprinkle the flour over the water, and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain the mussels, and rinse with cool water, gently removing the beard on each; especially dirty shells can be cleaned off with a brush. Very important: throw out any mussels that aren’t tightly shut.
Heat the oil and butter over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the shallots, and cook for a few minutes until almost translucent. Add garlic, and cook 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes, parsley, thyme, wine, and generously season with salt and pepper.
Once it reaches a boil, add mussels, and give a good stir before covering the pot (keep on medium heat). Shake the pot from time to time to keep the mussels from burning. Cook for 9-10 minutes until most of the mussels open (again important: now throw out any that didn’t open).
Pour it all into a large, shallow serving bowl. Serve with good crusty bread.