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Italian Mussel Stew

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    Italian Mussel Stew

    This stew—reminiscent of the sun-kissed Mediterranean coast—is so good that the first spoonful will convince you to include it in your regular dinner rotation. Spooning the herb sauce over top adds a restaurant-worthy presentation. Be sure to place a plate of sliced crusty bread on the table for soaking up the heavenly broth.

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    4 Tbsp (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil or camelina oil, divided
    1/4 cup (60 mL) fresh basil
    1/4 cup (60 mL) flat-leaf parsley
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    1 1/2 lb (750 g) mussels, scrubbed
    1 cup (250 mL) low-sodium chicken broth
    1/2 cup (125 mL) dry white wine
    2 shallots, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 tsp (5 mL) celery seeds or fennel seeds
    1 - 14 oz (398 mL) can fire-roasted unsalted tomatoes
    2 cups (500 mL) cooked or canned white kidney beans
    1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) red chili flakes
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
    1/3 cup (80 mL) black olives, sliced

    To make herb sauce, using blender or small food processor, blend together 3 Tbsp (45 mL) oil, basil, parsley, and lemon juice. Set aside.

    In large saucepan, combine mussels, chicken broth, and wine. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook over medium heat until mussels pop open. Discard any mussels that have not opened up. Place colander over large bowl and drain mussels, reserving broth. Remove mussels from shells and set aside.

    Return saucepan to stovetop and heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; heat for 1 minute. Add celery seeds or fennel seeds; heat for 30 seconds. Add reserved broth, tomatoes, beans, oregano, chili flakes, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and heat for 10 minutes. Stir in mussels and olives and heat through.

    Divide stew among serving bowls and serve topped with herb sauce.

    Serves 4.

    Each serving contains: 458 calories; 30 g protein; 19 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 32 g total carbohydrates (2 g sugars, 6 g fibre); 416 mg sodium

    source: "International Stews", alive #385, November 2014

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    Italian Mussel Stew

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    B12-rich mussels are a very good and economical source of protein and iron. Steamed mussels are a classic way to enjoy seafood—and so is this rich, aromatic broth of tomato, fennel, and saffron. Be sure to allow saffron to fully infuse to get the full flavour benefit, and finish off the dish with the fragrant fennel fronds. Sustainability status Farmed mussels are considered highly sustainable due to their low impacts on the environment. They are easy to harvest, require no fertilizer or fresh water, and don’t need to be fed externally, as they get all their nutritional requirements from their marine environment. Mussel prep Selection: Look for mussels with shiny, tightly closed shells that smell of the sea. If shells are slightly open, give them a tap. Live mussels will close immediately. Storage: Keep mussels in the fridge in a shallow pan laid on top of ice. Keep them out of water and cover with a damp cloth. Ideally, consume on the day you buy them, but within two days. They need to breathe, so never keep them in a sealed plastic bag. Cleanup: In addition to being sustainable, farmed mussels tend to require less cleaning than wild mussels. Most of the fibrous “beards” that mussels use to grip solid surfaces will have been removed before sale. But if a few remain, they’re easily dispatched: grasp the beard with your thumb and forefinger and pull it toward the hinge of the mussel and give it a tug. Afterward, give mussels a quick rinse and scrub away any areas of mud or seaweed, which, with farmed mussels, will require minimal work.