Yesterday I posted a recipe for some braised chicken thighs which required a cup of crushed canned tomatoes. Since I was sitting with almost a full can of tomatoes, I needed to figure out what to do with them. Typically I would just make a basic tomato sauce and mix in some pasta. Instead, I picked up a bag of fresh mussels and made a spicy tomato sauce, added the mussels and made a quick and easy dish.
For this dish, you can easily make the sauce a few days ahead and refrigerate, or a few weeks ahead and freeze the sauce. I opted for the former and then made my mussels a few hours later.
Normally I make my basic tomato sauce with shredded carrots, but sine I had none on hand, I used a yellow pepper, which ended up going perfectly with the mussels. I made the sauce a bit spicy, but you can make it mild or much hotter, your choice.
Here is the mussels recipe, with the basic sauce recipe to follow:
Serves 2 (as main course), 4-6 as appetizer
2 pounds fresh mussels, debearded if necessary
2 cups fresh tomato sauce (recipe follows)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup white wine
1 – 3 teaspoons crushed red peppers, depending on spice level
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a medium dutch oven or pan (with cover), at least 3.5 quarts, add olive oil and heat over medium. When oil is hot, add garlic and crushed peppers. Cook for a minute and then add tomato sauce and wine. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Add mussels and cover. Cook for 3-4 minutes undisturbed. Remove lid and cook an additional 4 minutes, shaking the pan to mix, until all mussels open. Toss any that remain closed.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!!
Basic Sauce Recipe
Makes about 4 cups (I used a 35 oz can, minus 1 cup)
1 35 oz can whole tomatoes (you can used crushed too)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 yellow pepper, 1/2″ dice
3/4 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 onion, 1/2″ dice
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, add olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add bay leaf and garlic and cook 1 minute. Add onion, yellow pepper and oregano. Cook for 10-12 minutes, until very soft.
Add white wine and scrape up any bits that stuck to pan. Add tomatoes, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should be thick and coat the back of a spoon.
Turn off heat and when cool, remove from pan and save in container in freezer or refrigerator. Use for above mussels recipe. If you want to use more mussels just add a bit more sauce.