Main Courses

Mussels with Garlic, White Wine, and Tomatoes

I have been wanting to make mussels for Cooking in Red Socks for a long time now. It is my favorite order at a restaurant (my mom’s too!) because mussels are normally served as an appetizer, so I start with a salad and have the mussels as my entree! It’s a light but filling meal. Now that we are living in New England again, mussels practically live in our backyard, which means the selection is great and very affordable. I ended up buying these at my farmers’ market this weekend for $4 per pound! I am already concocting lots of fun flavors for mussels recipes, but I wanted to start off with a traditional, flavorful version. Tomatoes, white wine, and rosemary are a winning combination in any dish, for me, the more garlic the better! Add some crusty sourdough bread to lap up the delicious broth on the bottom, and we have ourselves a feast! 

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes     Cooking Time: 10 minutes     Total Time: 30 minutes

4 lbs mussels
2 tbs cornmeal or flour
1 large white onion, chopped to small dice
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced lengthwise
2 large shallots, thinly sliced horiztonally
3 large plum tomatoes, chopped to medium dice
1 tbs fresh rosemary, minced
1 tbs freshy thyme, minced
1 1/3 cup white wine (if you wouldn’t drink it plain, don’t cook with it)
2 tbs butter
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 loaf sourdough bread or 1 sourdough baguette

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cleaning the mussels properly is essential to have an enjoyable meal. If you soak the mussels in water for too long, you will drown them. I suggest setting a timer and soaking the mussels while you do the other prep. Soak the mussels in water with the 2 tbs cornmeal or flour for 20-25 minutes. This helps pull the sand out. Remove the “beard” from the mussels with your hands (it’s the stringy thing around the opening) and scrub any mussels that look particularly dirty.
  • Drain the mussels immediately, rinse again through a strainer, and set aside.
  • Slice the sourdough into 1/2 inch thick pieces. I suggest 1-2 pieces per person. Brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and cook on a cookie sheet in the oven for 8 minutes, or until they are crusty. Set aside.
  • Saute the onion, garlic, and shallot in a large soup pot over medium heat with 2 tbs of olive oil. When the onions start to caramelize, add the tomatoes, rosemary, and thyme. Cover the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring halfway between.
  • Add the white wine to the mix with a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Cook on high for about 30 seconds so that the liquids all start to boil. Slightly reduce the temperature, add the mussels, and cover. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until almost all of the shells of the mussels are open. If you find that the mussels are sitting more vertically and not absorbing the broth, rotate them with a slotted spoon so that everyone reaches the bottom, but keep covered as best you can for the cooking time.
  • Remove the mussels with a slotted spoon and divide among 4 large, shallow bowls.
  • Whisk the butter into the broth and pour the broth into the four bowls, dividing the garlic and tomatoes the best you can. Serve with a slice or two of sourdough bread.

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