Wish Upon A Dish: Roasted Mussels in a Spicy/Sweet Tomato Sauce

June 2, 2011

Roasted Mussels in a Spicy/Sweet Tomato Sauce

June 2 is a national holiday (Festa della Republica) in Italy that commemorates its 1946 vote to abolish the Italian monarchy and become a republic.

I can not be in Italy with my cousins to celebrate this year but I will celebrate home here as if I was there.

My maternal side of the family is Neapolitan and my fraternal side is from Florence, so seafood is in my DNA. I now know why I love it so much.

To celebrate my heritage I am making Grilled Smoked Mussels in a Spicy/Sweet Roasted Tomato Sauce.

I am trying to replicate a dish I had in Key West. The sauce was so good, I wish I could have gotten the recipe. I do think it was a red clam sauce base because I found small shreds of clams in it, so I will start there. It also had a sweetness to it, so I will caramelize onions, puree them and add it to the sauce.

Spicy Chipotle Mussels in Roasted Tomato Sauce

While I call for chipotles in this recipe, simple substitutions can be made for this often hard-to-find ingredient. Just replace the chipotles with red pepper flakes and some smoked paprika. I am going for the roasted flavors to add to the grilled smoked mussels.

* 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 tablespoon butter
* 5 cloves of garlic minced
* 1 cup roasted onions, pureed
* 1 large can fire-roasted tomatoes, pureed
* 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
* 1 cup white wine
* A couple squirts of Agave Nectar or Honey
* 1 pinch saffron threads
* 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
* 2 dozen mussels, washed*
* 1 pound angelhair, cooked according to package directions

In a bowl, add onion and olive oil, toss, sprinkle with salt & pepper and spread on a baking pan. Roast in a 375F oven for 30 minutes. Remove to a small processor and puree.
In a large saucepan, add garlic, butter and saute until it browns slightly. Add white wine and boil until almost dry. Add tomatoes, saffron, clam juice, pureed onions and chipotle. Simmer for 30-40 minutes. Place in an aluminum pan and set on the grill. Add the mussels to the pan, add the wet applewood chips to the coals, close the lid and steam the mussels open.
Once done, remove, add the fresh basil, oregano and taste for seasonings.
Mound a serving of pasta on each plate and spoon over the mussels & sauce.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Review: This dish is Da Bomb. The sauce is exactly what I wanted & the mussels perfectly roasted in the sauce. Make sure you have plenty of good dense bread if you don't want pasta, it is too good to not sop it all up.....I really have a winner here.

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