Mussels, often referred to as the “poor man’s shellfish”, because they are relatively cheap and plentiful! Prepared properly it can be a meal for royalty let alone a poor man! All you need for a delicious, quick midweek meal or maybe a starter to a meal with friends, is bowl of mussels in a fragrant tomato sauce, a freshly baked ciabatta and voila……. a table full of happy quests licking their bowls and fingers, probably asking for seconds! For a fragrant tomato sauce, Nina was lucky enough to get hold of Terroir Executive Chef Michael Broughton’s recipe.
4 x 440g tins whole peeled tomatoes
45ml Olive oil
1½ finely chopped onion
8 peeled garlic cloves whole
30g tomato paste
20 ml sugar
10 ml salt
20 Basil leaves
1 litre water
A generous pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 kg black mussels in shell
Sweat onions and garlic in butter and oil, cook (45min) with lid on until very soft and sweet.
Turn up the heat to high and boil away the liquid until it begins to fry (don’t colour) add the tomato paste and cook stirring for 5-6 min (to cool off the acidity) then add the rest of ingredients (except the basil) and blitz until slightly chunky or smoother if you like then simmer slowly for 2 ½ hours over a low heat adding more water if it dries out too fast. When done remove from heat stir in the basil and a pepper and infuse with the lid on for 20 min then use or keep in the fridge for 2 days or freeze until needed.
I added the mussels 5 minutes before cooking time was done. This gives enough time for the fresh mussels to open. Discard any mussels that do not open. When mussels are cooked, add chopped basil, place lid back on and allow to infure fo r10 minutes before serving. Serve with buttery warm ciabatta!
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
Nina Timm has become a popular household name in South Africa and apart from her passion for cooking, her heart is with people. In 2012 she received the Blogger of the Year Award from Eat In Magazine and has not looked back since. She understands what her readers want. She and her family live an unpretentious lifestyle with love in abundance and a deep rooted believe in God. With her warm and heartfelt nature she has become a loyal and trusted radio personality to RSG listeners, where she has a weekly show every Thursday Morning just after 9, featuring her own recipes and those of other South African Food Bloggers.
Visit Nina’s website – click here.