Tired of bruschetta or regular tapas for starters? Or you say: I cannot cook fish or shellfish myself? Then just take a look at this easy and delicious appetizer. Mussels are very easy and quick to cook. They are rich in protein and they are an excellent source of: selenium and  vitamin B12. This Mediterranean inspired dish contains just a handful of ingredients and it will make your mouth water and crave for more.

Servings: 3
Prep time: 60 minutes
Difficulty: 🍳 🍳 (2/5)

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Ingredients:

  • 800 g – 900 g (1.7-2 lb.) of fresh alive mussels with their shells on
  • 5 medium size tomatoes
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2 small chilly peppers or jalapeños
  • 250 ml (1 cup) of dry white wine
  • 200 ml (3/4 of a cup) of apple cider
  • a bunch of parsley
  • 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 baguette
  • salt, pepper

You have to make sure that you buy fresh mussels. Ask the salesman when did the mussels arrive. If they arrived on the same day or a day before, buy them – otherwise try to find another shop where they are more fresh.

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🍊 The Gourmand’s tip & trick 🍊
IMG_20160318_1713591) Check, who’s alive: When you open a bag of mussels, you have to separate the alive ones from the dead ones. WARNING: Check if they are open or cracked – these ones are definitely dead and throw them away immediately, as they can cause serious health problems. Then there are the ones which are slightly open – check if they close after pressing them. If yes, you can use them, otherwise throw them as well.
pixlr2) Purge & Debeard: You need to clean the mussels well, and for this you need running cold water and a new metal dish scrubber. Each mussel has a beard-like hair, which helps the animal to attach to rocks. This can be easily removed: while with one hand keeping the shell closed and with the other one pulling the beard upwards. After debearding scrub the mussels thoroughly under cold water.
3) Spit out the sand: The shells tend to have some sand inside, which can be very unpleasant while eating. Right after cleaning each shell, place them in a large bowl with cold salty water. Let them stay there for 20-30 minutes (while preparing the rest of the ingredients). This will help them spit out the remaining sand from inside. Rinse the mussels well and wash them again under cold water.

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Chop up the garlic into thin slices, remove the core from the chilly peppers and slice them sideways as well. The tomatoes can be chopped in many ways, but I recommend not to leave larger pieces then 1-2 cm (0.4-0.8 inches).

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In a large pot pour the olive oil and fry the garlic and chilly pepper slices on low heat for 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes and cook it for another 3 minutes. Season it with a pinch of salt and some pepper. Pour the wine and cider into the pot and rise the heat to medium until it starts to boil. Add the mussels in the pot, stir them in and cover the pot with a lid. Shake the pot several times and let it covered for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes close the burner. Finally sprinkle the chopped parsley on top and mix it well. Your dish is done.

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Let it cool completely – as this dish is served cold. Serve it in a deep plate or in a bowl with some baguette slices.

🍊 The Gourmand’s tip & trick 🍊
WARNING: Do not eat the ones which did not open during the cooking time – it means that those ones were sick.

Alternatives:

  • chilly pepper > bell pepper
  • cider > more wine
  • parsley > basil
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