In New England, mussels always seem overshadowed by clams. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good fried clam (I believe Woodman’s in Essex is actually gluten-free for the most part, since they coat their clam in cornmeal instead of regular flour, I promise to check that out and write a post about it soon), but mussels are worthy of the same attention and praise. They are generally pretty inexpensive compared to most fish varieties and are easy to prepare. They are rich and meaty without being too heavy.
This version includes a light broth that gets an aromatic boost from fresh rosemary. I use the broth in place of butter for dipping.
Since they are kind of messy to eat, these are great for summer cookouts / dinners on the patio.
Mussels go with just about anything (well except maybe a cheese plate), but I like to serve this with salad or some gluten-free rolls.
1 lb mussels
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup dry white wine (like a Chardonnay)
1/2 cup water
3 T tomato paste
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
1. Clean the mussels by running them under cold water. Look for any open mussels and discard those. If you want to try to release the grit / sand from the mussels, add 1/4 cup cornstarch to a large bowl of cold water and whisk together. Add the mussels and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. The mussels should release the sand as they take in the cornstarch. Rinse thoroughly under cold water.
2. In a large pot, over medium heat, saute the tomato, onion and garlic in a little olive oil.
3. When they are soft, about 2-3 minutes, add the tomato paste, rosemary, water and wine.
4. Raise the heat to high and cover the pot. Bring the ingredients to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to medium and add the mussels. Cover and steam for 5-10 minutes or until the mussels have opened. I would start checking at 5 minutes to see if they are ready. Make sure you check once about every 2 minutes. Every time you open the pot, the steam escapes and delays the cooking time, so you don’t want to check too frequently.
6. When the mussels are open, remove from the heat and serve with a large, empty bowl for the discarded shells.