There really are very few dishes as fast and deeply satisfying as a steaming pot of mussels. Been meaning to have some friends over to catch up? This is your meal plan. You can make the sauce a good amount of time ahead and need to do nothing but toss in the mussels about 10 minutes before you are ready to eat. Pick up some delicious wine, crunchy bread and and have your friends bring dessert. Toss together a seasonal salad and call it a great night.
I recently received a pretty epic shipment of loot from my dad's New Jersey garden. Among the over three dozen assorted jars of green fig jam, apple butter and pickled tomatillos were some seriously sweet stewed tomatoes. Lucky me! As much as I love the classic French mussels preparation with saffron and white wine, the combination of fennel and tomatoes mixed with the sweet brininess of the mussels is pretty crave-worthy too.
This is dinner to the table in under 30 and could be under 20 but I'm giving you some time to make a salad too!
mussels with fennel, tomatoes and orange
serves about 4
3 lbs mussels, preferably from Prince Edward Island, rinsed
1 quart of stewed tomatoes or 32 oz of San Marzanos, roughly chopped, juice reserved
1 c fennel, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 c orange juice
1/2 c red wine
1/4 c parsley, finely chopped
crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
parmesan for serving
Heat the oil in a large pot and add the garlic and fennel. Cook over medium-high heat until the fennel begins to soften.
Add the orange juice and stir constantly until the juice is almost completely reduced.
Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the wine, red pepper and salt to taste.
Depending on how think the sauce is, you may want to add some water to loosen things up a bit. Add the mussels to the pot and cover.
Let steam over med-high heat until the mussels are open and toss any that have not.
Give it all a big stir from the bottom and add the parsley. Serve immediately with some bread and right from the same pot.