Mussels in Spicy Marinara Sauce

Food artisan and gourmet chef Dima Sharif shares her fave recipe
Monday , 21 May 2012
Mussels in Spicy Marinara Sauce
Mussels in Spicy Marinara Sauce
Dima Sharif
Dima Sharif

One of my all-time favourite dishes is Mussels in Spicy Marinara Sauce. I like this concoction because it is very fast and easy to prepare, yet utterly delightful. The deep, rich and spicy marinara sauce is just perfect for dunking a piece of baguette in to soak it up. Every piece offers a moist, spicy, flavoursome bite with hints of the sea and a light note of sweetened acidity from the tomatoes and vino. The softened baguette’s texture compliments the slight chewiness of the mussels and each bite is an absolute indulgence. This dish was one of the first foods I learnt to cook.
My mum frequently cooked white fish fillets in this sauce, and since mussels are a favourite seafood of mine, I thought why not cook the mussels in it instead of the fillets? It turned out excellent and made its way to my best-loved recipes list. I often make this dish, especially when entertaining. Everyone loves it and I am always showered with compliments. It can be served with a side of chips or over pasta, but I always go for the baguette.

Mussels in Spicy Marinara Sauce

500g fresh mussels
2 tbsp olive oil
8 ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1or 2 small green chillies, finely chopped
1 large red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 heaped tsp tomato paste
¼ cup red vino or 150ml fresh fish stock
1 tsp sugar
Salt and black pepper to taste
Fresh basil for garnish

Start by cleaning the mussels: scrub each one with a brush under running water to remove any dirt or seaweed.
De-beard the mussels, rinse with water and set aside in a bowl of salted cold water. When you tap the tops of the mussels they should close. Discard the ones that don’t close as they are already dead [check].
Place the olive oil in a large saucepan over high heat and gently cook the chopped onion, sliced garlic and chopped green chillies until the onions and garlic become soft and translucent.
Add the peeled chopped tomatoes and stir to mix.
Add the vino or fish stock and tomato paste.
Season to taste.
Bring the tomato mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, steam your mussels for about 3 minutes or until they are all open.Remove from heat.
Add the steamed mussels to the reduced marinara sauce and fold to mix.
Place them all in a serving dish and sprinkle with fresh basil.
Serve hot or warm with a fresh baguette of your choice and devour.

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