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Fresh Black Mussels with Orange Zest, Roma Tomatoes, Basil and Saffron
5 pounds fresh mussels
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
8 garlic cloves, crushed
6 fresh Roma tomatoes, concassé
2 Valencia oranges
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 ½ cups fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 French baguette
Scrub the mussels with a stiff brush under cold, running water. Debeard the
mussels by gently prying open the shells with your finger or a small knife and
pulling out the threadlike “beard” strands protruding from the shells. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and
cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until garlic is done. Add the
tomatoes and cook until au sec (almost dry). Add the orange zest. Squeeze in the
orange juice. Stir in the white wine and saffron and bring to a boil.
Add the mussels to the pot. Cook until they begin to open, stir in the basil and
cook 1 minute.
Spoon the mussels into a large warm serving bowl and cover with the broth. Serve
with a crusty French baguette for dipping. Use the empty shell like tongs to pluck
the mussel from its shell.
Yields 4 servings.