It’s no secret that I adore mussels.
This is one of the best. Simple and elegant, mussels fra diavolo is a classic dish that is best served with lots of crusty bread for dipping. Try to use plump, wild Mediterranean mussels from Maine or Penn Cove mussels from the Pacific Northwest. They’re mild, delicate and very very tasty.
Mussels Fra Diavolo
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, minced
- 1 basil sprig
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- One 28-ounce can tomato puree, preferably Italian
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- Chopped parsley, for serving
- Crusty bread, for serving
Make the Sauce
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, basil, garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, tomato paste and a generous pinch of sugar and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree and bring just to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to 3 cups, about 30 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Make the Mussels
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallot, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Stir in the mussels, cover and cook until the mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes; discard any mussels that do not open. Season lightly with salt, then transfer the mussels and sauce to a platter. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve right away with crusty bread.
MAKE AHEAD The tomato sauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Madeleine Hill.