Mussels in spicy tomato sauce is an Italian restaurant stand-by and one of my favorite seafood dishes. The dish, however, can be easily ruined with foul seafood, thick sauces, and overcooking. Mussels should not be rubbery, smell bad, or be covered in gelatinous “sauce.” Our version of mussels starts with the highest quality seafood you can find, so develop a relationship with a local shop and get to know the person serving you fish. After the courting period, your fish person will reveal deep secrets about what you ought to buy and the meaning of life (and after a prolonged period of time you’ll be a fish expert and marry his first born female child).
In terms of the dish itself, keep the condiment or sauce very simple; for example, our sauce includes 6 ingredients (not including the mussels):
- Mussels (2 pounds will feed 2-3 people as a main course)
- Bunch of parsley, minced
- 6-7 cloves of garlic diced in thin slices
- ½ cup of tomato sauce
- Splash of white wine
- Juice of a quarter lemon
- Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- Heat a large pan with deep sides and add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add your tomato sauce and mix well.
- Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add your muscles and white wine and place the lid on your pan. Keep your flame on a medium to high heat and in 4-5 minutes you'll have perfect cooked muscles.
- Prior to serving, give the mussels a gentle stir to coat and mix everything well.
- I like to serve good bread and mixed green salad with my mussels in spicy tomato wine sauce. You can drink a cold lager or a glass of sauvignon blanc.