The first time I had steamed mussels was at the now defunct Belgian restaurant called Belgo in NYC. The restaurant was dark and resembled a beer hall with long wooden tables that were shared with other diners. I remembered the Belgian style steamed mussels came in a white wine sauce and served with a side of pomme frites. It was a delicious meal.
I have only eaten mussels a few ways. Steamed, baked, or ceviche, and they are delicious any which way. We have recently ordered the ceviche kind at Greek restaurants (at the Fat Greek in Kaimuki and at the Olive Tree Cafe in Kahala). The baked version that I love is the Japanese version where the mussels are topped with a Japanese mayonnaise, ponzu, and panko and baked on the half shell. We have replicated this at home many times and is delicious! And of course the steamed method of cooking mussels, which is what I was craving and made this weekend.
It is pretty simple to make and honestly, came out better than I remembered having it or expected. I didn’t have a baguette or other artisan breads handy so I just toasted a few slices of wheat bread and spread one side with butter and garlic powder. I love anything with garlic.
The broth was perfect with the garlic, onions, tomatoes, and butter with the white wine sealing everything together. We couldn’t help but drink it all up. It was also super comforting because we are both sick right now and needed something warm in our tummies. It hit the spot, indeed.
STEAMED MUSSELS IN TOMATO WHITE WINE SAUCE
(My own recipe)
3 pounds of mussels (preferably fresh but frozen whole works as well)
1/2 yellow onion, sliced lengthwise
8-10 cloves of garlic, minced
3 medium size tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup white wine (I used a Chardonnay)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt to taste
1. If using fresh mussels, rinse in cold water. Scrub the shells and remove any beards sticking out. Discard any mussels that are open. Fresh mussels are alive so if they are slightly open, tap on them and if they close up, then they are ok. Otherwise, throw them out. For frozen mussels, defrost and rinse in cold water. Clean them the same way like fresh mussels. Set aside.
2. In a large pot (I used my 5 quart Le Creuset, which was the perfect size for 3 pounds of mussels), heat the butter and oil together. Add garlic and onions and stir with a wooden spoon.
3. Once the onions are soft, add white wine. Lower to medium heat and stir for a few minutes.
4. Add tomatoes and stir into the garlic and onions. Cook until the broth comes to a simmer. At this point, taste the broth and add salt if needed.
5. Add the mussels into the pot. Cover the pot and steam the mussels in the broth for about 5 minutes or until the mussels open.