Mussels with Tomatoes & Wine Sauce is a well-loved delicacy served a few times a year at my house! The reaction is always a positive one ….every single time! It’s a wonderful starter dish before dinner, shared among the table unless of course, you’re a big seafood connoisseur. In that case, serve with some crusty bread for dipping and have it as your main dish!Jump to Recipe
A Little Seafood Humor
“It’s a little like digging for gold. It takes some work, but once you open the shell and retrieve what’s inside, down the hatch it goes”, my husband said recently. He is a big fan of Mussels with Tomatoes & Wine Sauce! We joke about the amount of work for such a small outcome since the shells are the bulk of this dish that ultimately get tossed out in the end.
Mussels are most popular in the summer and fall months. Living on the coast of New England sure has its advantages and the availability of seafood is one of them!
Mussels with Tomatoes & Wine Sauce
Green vs Black Mussels
Black mussels can sometimes be blue in color and are most popular in the U.S. because they are harvested in indigenous sea waters. The green kinds are typically imported from foreign waters such as New Zealand. Green mussels are about twice the size of black mussels.
If you ask this question in a google search, the likely answer will be 3-5 days. However, that is not our opinion at all! Seafood should always be consumed fresh and served on the day of purchase or the next day.
Store in the net and paper bag packaging from the store or in an open container such as a bowl with a dampened cloth laid loosely over. They do need to breathe and should not be submerged in water or wrapped in a plastic bag while stored in the refrigerator.
When buying mussels (unless you’re deep diving for them yourself, that is!) it's important to check that they are stored properly at the market, preferably on ice or in a cold wet environment.
Time needed: 15 minutes.
How to Clean Mussels
- Soak in water
Soak the mussels in water for 10 minutes and gently remove any debris with your hands. The mussels are from the sea, so they will breathe in the water while evicting any sand inside the shell.
- Check them over well to make sure they are alive
Toss any that have broken shells or have an unpleasant smell, they should smell like the ocean. The broken shells have a high rate of being no good. Open shells may be okay as long as they close quickly once tapped on. The shells that close are alive and well and absolute keepers!
- Remove the beards
Sometimes referred to as whiskers. Often they come debearded when purchased from the store and this step can be skipped.
- Give them one last rinse before cooking to wash them well.
Now they are ready to be cooked!
Tips and Tricks on how to serve
Good-quality canned tomatoes, such as Hunt’s Fire-roasted tomatoes or fresh tomatoes can be used. Campari tomatoes are wonderful in this dish!
Use a ladle to gently retrieve the mussels from the pot along with the broth to a serving bowl. Use a separate empty bowl to collect the empty shell discards.
Have plenty of napkins on hand once served, this can get messy!
- linguine or angel hair
- Crusty bread for dipping in the broth (My husbands #1 choice)
- A garden or caesar salad
- Absolutely pair with a glass of wine! duh!
Mussels with Tomatoes & Wine Sauce
- 2 Lbs Black Mussels
- ⅓ Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion
- 3 Cloves Garlic minced
- 14.5 Oz Fire-Roasted Tomatoes diced
- 1 teaspoon Red pepper Flakes optional
- 2 Cups Fresh Spinach optional
- 1 tablespoon Basil
- 1 Cup White wine such as chardonny
- 2 tablespoon Chives
- Bring oil to heat on medium in a large skillet or wok.
- Slice the onion and add to the pan, saute for 3 minutes.
- Add garlic.
- Saute until the onions are soft and caramelized. About 6 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, basil, chives, and the optional red pepper flakes. Simmer for 8 minutes.
- Pour in wine and stir the optional spinach into the pot, allowing it to wilt a little. About 2 minutes.
- Add the Mussels once the wine is brought to heat.
- Cover the pot and check on it in 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and serve once the shells open.