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RECIPE: Baked Mussels with Saffron and Tomatoes

Updated: December 14, 2011 1:52PM


2 pounds mussels

3 scallions

3 sprigs flat Italian

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

2 bay leaves

Pinch saffron threads

1 cup diced canned
tomatoes, mostly drained

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup white wine

Grilled bread

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Scrub mussels with brush under cold running water and debeard them, pulling off any threads on hinge side. Discard any open mussels that don’t close shortly after being tapped on counter.

Slice scallions on a diagonal into 1-inch pieces, including green tops. Pick leaves from parsley sprigs — you want about 1/3 cup, loosely packed. Heat olive oil in large, ovenproof saute pan over medium-high flame. Add scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and brown slightly, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and saffron to the pan and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Onions and garlic will brown alarmingly — that’s OK.

Add tomatoes, parsley leaves and oregano to pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. There will be lots of spattering at first. That is also OK, but you may want an apron. Add wine and a splash of water; again with the spattering. Add mussels, as much in a single layer as possible. Transfer pan to oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes, or until mussels open. (Discard any that don’t open.)

Divide mussels among shallow serving bowls and spoon tomatoes and juices over them. Serve with grilled bread. Alternatively, you can serve them in one big communal bowl. In any case, make sure you have a large bowl for discarding the shells. By the way, a shell half is a fun, decadent utensil for scooping up any of the delicious broth you don’t sop up with the grilled bread.

From Off the Menu by Marissa Guggiana

Nutrition facts per serving:

768 calories, 26 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 127 mg cholesterol, 59 g carbohydrates, 6 g sugars, 61 g protein, 1,908 mg sodium, 5 g fiber

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