I live on the northern border of Cook County in a little village called Arlington Heights. I’m a retired printer/graphic artist/typesetter/proofreader and have not given up my spelling/punctuation/grammar nazi habits. My hobbies are cooking, Jeopardy! and building things such as wooden ship models and anything else that requires attention to detail.
To be honest, the cooking of a meal is, to me, more gratifying than eating it (yes, I DO eat my own cooking), although I do love to see others enjoying what I’ve made.
The mussel recipe is one I created myself after eating them in so many different variations in so many restaurants that made me wonder “How hard can this possibly be to make at home?” I think this is the simplest recipe in my entire repertoire. I hope some readers take the plunge and try this in their own kitchen.
Large frying pan with tight fitting lid (a lid is important!)
2 lbs. fresh mussels (If you live in Chicagoland, you can get them from Mariano’s, $4.99/2 lbs. If not, get them from your trusted fishmonger.)
1 14 oz can petite diced tomatoes
2-3 cloves chopped garlic
2-4 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried basil or 6-8 fresh leaves, chopped
1/2 cup red wine
ground red pepper
Make the sauce before preparing the mussels so it can simmer and cook down a bit while you work on the mussels.
In a frying pan over low-medium heat, saute the garlic until slightly softened (do not let it get brown) about 2-5 minutes.
Add the entire can of tomatoes, basil and wine. Add red pepper to taste. Stir. Increase heat to medium and bring to a slow boil. Stir occasionally as you work on the mussels. Reduce heat and allow to simmer while you prepare the mussels.
Watch this video on how to prepare the mussels: https://youtu.be/o2Od7_XYye0
When all mussels have been prepared, increase heat to bring sauce back to a boil and dump in all the mussels at once. Spread them evenly and place lid on pan and cook for 10 minutes. NO PEEKING. You don’t want any steam to escape.
Just before serving, stir/toss mussels with sauce to get some sauce into the opened mussels. Discard any mussels that did not open.
Serve with slices of good bread that has been brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with Romano or Parmesan cheese and baked for 10 minutes on each side.
Although this is MY recipe, feel free to call it your own and you too can become famous among your friends and family.