Rioja Recipe: Mussels Steamed in Tomato Consommé

This month’s recipe is the winning submission from our Rioja Recipe Contest. Congratulations to Michael L. from Denton, TX for his recipe for Mussels Steamed in Tomato Consommé! Michael won a dinner for two to a great local restaurant for a Rioja dinner. Cheers!

Mussels Steamed in Tomato Consommé

This dish requires 20 minutes of preparation time and about 45 minutes cooking time. It will serve 8 – 10 people as an appetizer. Its hearty tomato base and complexity beckons a similarly complex and well-rounded red wine. Rioja fits the bill!

· 4 to 6 pounds mussels (expect 20 to 25 mussels per pound)

For the consommé:
· 2 each of parsnips, carrots, onions cut in large pieces
· ¼ head garlic (whole cloves peeled)
· 4 large tomatoes quartered
· Several sprigs of tarragon and fresh thyme
· Two cups dry white wine
· Two cups water
· 1 tbs. sherry or wine vinegar
· ½ tsp. crushed red pepper (optional but wonderful)
· ½ tsp sea salt
· Crushed white pepper to taste

In a covered sauce pot, heat all of the ingredients except the mussels at a low boil for thirty minutes.

During this time, prep the mussels by handling each one. Discard any mussel that is cracked or won’t close by itself when gently squeezed. Wash the mussels under cold water to remove any grit. Pull off any organic material attached to the mussel.

After 30 minutes, strain the consommé through a fine sieve. Taste the consommé for salt and adjust.

In a large pan with a lid, bring the consommé to a rolling boil and add mussels. Cover the pot for 1 minute, then open and move them around to cook evenly. Cover for 2 minutes and check them. If they are almost all open, they are finished. Remove them to plates immediately (discard any that did not open), ladle in the consommé, and serve with warm, crusty bread.

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