2 1/2 lbs. mussels, scrubbed and rinsed
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 shallots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1/2 cup fennel chopped
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
6 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (about 2 cups)
1 1/4 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 bunch basil, stems removed and sliced thin (may also use chopped parsley)
Wash mussels in several changes of cold water; using a sharp knife, remove beards.
In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil and saute the garlic , shallot, celery, and fennel stirring occasionally until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the wine, broth, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.
Stir in half of the sliced basil, add the mussels and cover.
Once the sauce returns to a boil, cook until the mussels open, 4 to 5 minutes more.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large serving bowl, discarding any that have not opened, and pour the sauce over them.
Garnish with the remaining basil.
Serve with crusty French bread and a cold glass of white wine.
For a richer and creamier sauce, you may add a few tablespoons of butter and/or creme fraiche to the pot before serving.
Serve over a bed of pasta for a more filling meal.
Pairs Well With
I first tasted this delectable dish at a beach side restaurant in the South of France. When I prepare these sweet and tender mollusks, I am transported back to that marvelous moment in time when I devoured them under a sunny not -a -cloud -in- the-sky-day. This recipe is easy to make and a crowd pleaser. Mussels can be found in the markets all year long. What a great dish to serve in the winter when we can only dream of the summer months ahead!
Store mussels on ice in a colander so melted ice will drain away from mussels. Cover with a damp towel and refrigerate up to 3 days.
Scrub shells with a stiff-bristled brush to remove mud and sand. As they are cleaned, place in ice water to flush out any sand in the mussel.
Mussels usually 'gap'. This is the way they filter water. If a shell is open, tap it. The live ones will close their shells. If there are any shells which do not open during the cooking process, throw them away!!!