Mussels steamed in a garlic, tomato and white wine broth are easy and inexpensive to make. Figure about 2 pounds mussels per person.
The commercially raised mussels available today are cleaner than they used to be. Just wash them in cold water before using. Scrape off the beard or thin hairs along the shell. This is how the mussel attaches itself to rocks. If any mussels are open, tap them gently. Discard any that do not close.
This dish is really a meal in itself. Be sure to have plenty of fresh French bread to soak up every last drop.
This meal contains 534 calories per serving with 23 percent of calories from fat.
Fred Tasker's wine tip: The quintessential wine for mussels is a delicate, bone-dry French muscadet. If you can't find that, an Italian pinot grigio will do fine.
Mussels in Garlic Tomato Broth
Makes 2 servings.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced onion
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup sliced celery
4 plum tomatoes cut into large cubes (about 2 cups)
½ cup dry white wine
Freshly ground pepper
4 pounds mussels
¼ cup chopped parsley
½ French baguette
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, celery and tomatoes until they start to shrivel but not color, about 5 minutes.
Add the wine and some freshly ground pepper and bring to a boil. Add the mussels and cover the saucepan tightly. Let boil about 3 minutes, shaking the pan several times. The wine will boil up over the mussels and they will open. As soon as they are open, take the pan off the heat. Do not overcook. The mussels will become rubbery, if you do.
To serve, lift the mussels out of the pan with a slotted spoon and place in two large soup bowls. Discard any mussels that do not open. Spoon the broth over the mussels. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve. Serve with slices of French baguette.
Per serving: 534 calories (23 percent from fat), 13.9 g fat (2.3 g saturated, 6.8 g monounsaturated), 64 mg cholesterol, 35.2 g protein, 57.6 g carbohydrates, 6.7 g fiber, 971 mg sodium.