One pot Italian-style mussels in a garlicky, tomato sauce laced with dry white wine and Mediterranean herbs.
If you've never cooked mussels before, it can seem a bit daunting. But don't worry, this easy two-step recipe is really simple to follow and will make you realise you can do it. In fact, once you see how easy it is, it will probably make you want to cook mussels in other ways too. Mussels make a really delicious, low calorie meal. This recipe is just 218 calories per portion with only 2 grams of saturated fat. Add a little extra for some crusty bread, which you will want to mop up that tasty sauce. Mussels are a great eco-choice as well. They can be farmed cheaply, with no need for pesticides or antibiotics. In fact, they actively clean the water they grow in. One recent study even claimed eating mussels might be better for the planet than veganism.
- 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 anchovy fillets in oil
- 3 tbsp ‘dry’ pitted olives, sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 large plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 150ml dry white wine
- 1kg cleaned mussels
- crusty bread or skinny fries, to serve
- Heat the oil gently in a very large pan or stock pot. Add the anchovies and cook over a low heat for a few mins, until they begin to break up. Add the olives, garlic, bay leaves and tomatoes, and cook for 5 mins. Pour in wine and simmer for 5 mins.
- Add the mussels, stir well, cover with a lid and cook over a medium-high heat for 5 mins, shaking the pan occasionally. Once all the mussels have opened, serve straight away in warmed bowls with the crusty bread or some fries – or both.
Top tips for making Italian-style mussels
Before you start all the mussels should be clean and closed, so give them a good rinse in cold water. Scrape off any barnacles or beards with a knife. If any are open, tap them on a hard surface and if they still don't close, discard them. Similarly, discard any that don't open when you cook them. Tradition says you should not eat shellfish in months that don't contain an 'r', but really this applies more to oysters and does not take into account modern farming and storage methods. It is possible to eat shellfish all year round - ask your fishmonger if you want more advice.
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Octavia Lillywhite is an award-winning food and lifestyle journalist with over 15 years of experience. With a passion for creating beautiful, tasty family meals that don’t use hundreds of ingredients or anything you have to source from obscure websites, she’s a champion of local and seasonal foods, using up leftovers and composting, which, she maintains, is probably the most important thing we all can do to protect the environment.