Bowl of mussels

Bowl of mussels

My Italian Kitchen
Chris Middleton

This is one of the simplest yet tastiest dishes in my repertoire. I don’t know anyone who's had a whole pot of mussels with crusty bread, and hasn't absolutely loved it. These make a great shared meal to have with friends with a glass of white wine. Don’t be shy to double dip – use the mussel shells as a spoon!


Quantity Ingredient
1kg mussels
2-3 roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5 saffron threads, (optional)
125ml white wine
sea salt flakes
flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to garnish
4 slices Ciabatta bread


  1. To clean the mussels, scrub them with a scourer and pull off the beard of each mussel. Set aside.
  2. To prepare the tomatoes, boil the kettle and pour the boiling water into a heatproof bowl. Score a cross in the base of each tomato and put them in the bowl of hot water. Leave the tomatoes in the bowl until the skins start to peel away, about 30 seconds. Remove the tomatoes from the bowl and peel away the skin, then slice and finely dice.
  3. Pour the olive oil into a large saucepan and set over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until soft, about 3–5 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and saffron threads (if using) and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and simmer away for another few minutes.
  4. Add the mussels to the pan, put the lid on and leave to cook for 5–7 minutes. By now all the mussels should have opened. (Discard any mussels that have not opened.)
  5. Transfer the mussels and cooking liquid to a large bowl, sprinkle with parsley and serve with the ciabatta.
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