Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mussels with tomato, chilli and herbs

I grew up in a house of fussy eaters.  Mum and I eat most things but Dad and my sister were definitely the kind of fussy eaters that drive you mad.  Poor Mum, there were so many lovely recipes that she could never make because one or the other of them wouldn't eat it.

As a result I really appreciate the fact that S eats just about everything which makes cooking easy.  The one thing that he doesn't eat however, is seafood.  No fish and no shellfish which is particularly unfortunate as I love seafood.  So whenever he is away my thoughts immediately turn to food from the sea.

Mussels are delicious, very quick to cook and really good for you.  They used to drive me nuts because cleaning and debearding them was such a fussy annoying job, but then some genius decided to sell 1kg packs of beautifully cleaned, debearded mussels.  They seem to be super fresh and very few don't open which is great because I'm always sad about any time there is a mussel I can't eat.

There are many yummy ways to cook them, Mum makes a particularly delicious creamy french recipe with mushrooms and cider, but this is my go to recipe because it is super simple and super quick.  All the quantities are rough, you can adjust the herbs and spices to your own taste, really it is pretty much impossible to go wrong with this.  And the whole thing only takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish which makes it a perfect work night meal.

The recipe also makes a lot of delicious sauce.  Too much really to eat it all, just scoop out the chunks of tomato and some of the juice to soak up with bread.  This is a hands on, all in, kind of meal.  True comfort food.

Mussels with tomato, chilli and herbs
this amount will serve one person for dinner

1 packet of cleaned mussels
olive oil
half an onion finely chopped
teaspoon or so of minced garlic
3 tomatoes roughly diced
half a cup of white wine
chilli flakes
handful of herbs (I choose basil and parsley)

Soften the onion in olive oil over a medium high heat.  Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook till soft and juicy.  Add the wine, herbs and chilli and bring to the boil.

Open the packet of mussels and drain.  Add the mussels to the pot, put the lid on so that it steams and cook, stiring occassionally for about 10 minutes or until the mussels open.  Discard any mussels that don't open - do not be tempted to pry them open, they are bad and will make you sick.

Serve a big bowl of mussels, drizzled with the chunky tomato sauce, crusty bread and a crisp white wine.


  1. YUM! Oh what a shame to dislike seafood. This looks so delicious! Especially with crusty bread & crisp white wine :)
    Heidi xo

    1. It is a shame, but he is really so unfussy about everything else I can't begrudge him this one thing. Still the minute he is away, I treat myself.

  2. Cleaned and debearded mussels? YES YES YES! I can't wait to find and have access to that :)

    1. They are pretty common now, most of the big fishmongers seem to sell them them here, so I wouldn't be surprised if you could find them in Canada. They changed mussels from an occasional thing to have when I had heaps of time to my super quick after work meal.

  3. This was one of my stand by restaurant dishes a few years back - I loved it :) I never tried cooking mussels at home myself though, so am impressed at how professional your version looks to be!

    1. Thanks Kari! Other than the cleaning which has been solved for me now, mussels are really easy to cook. Just make a nice liquid sauce, get it boiling, add the mussels and they steam open in about 10 minutes. Not that it will be that useful for you now you are a vegetarian / almost vegan.