SAFFRON MUSSELS

Cooking beautiful food, hosting a group of friends does not mean you need to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else enjoys themselves, go have fun with everyone else. These Saffron Mussels are my fancy-lazy meal lunch, dinner, or somewhere in-between, they are a delicious anytime.

Homemade mussels are a breeze for a summer gathering and the best thing is you can’t screw them up. I like to build my sauce to steam the mussels an hour before people arrive, let it simmer and cool allowing all the flavors to settle in. Right before my guests arrive I heat it up, steam the mussels and in five minutes we are all clamoring to the table, pouring wine and grabbing a bowl.  Throw together a simple herb salad with zippy vinaigrette, and serve everything family-style. 

Ingredients

serves 4-6 

  • 4 lbs mussels

  • 1 head of garlic

  • 1 shallot

  • 1 yellow onion.

  • 1 large pinch of saffron threads

  • 1 large pinch of flaky sea salt

  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 tbsp salted butter

  • 2 c dry white wine

  • 1 carton of sun gold or cherry tomatoes

  • 1 handful Italian flat-leaf parsley for serving

  • fresh baguette for sopping up the broth

Method

Soak the mussels in a large tub of water to clean and rinse the mussels. Chop the garlic into slices. Mince the onion and shallot. Sweat the garlic, shallots, and onions in a large thick-bottomed pot with a lid in 2 tbsp of olive oil, once translucent (don’t caramelize or brown) add the butter. Add a generous pinch of sea salt. 

Pour the white wine over the garlic, onion, and shallot mixture, wait for the alcohol aroma to burn off (about 3 minutes). Add the saffron and stir. Turn off the heat, let the sauce rest, so the saffron flavors the sauce and turns a vibrant gold. If you can wait for 30 min or an hour, do it. If not, just wait 15 mins for me, please! (you could do this up to three hours in advance).

Reheat the sauce, add the sun gold tomatoes until they start to burst and soften. Then add the mussels. Cover the pot, after 4 minutes and stir. Recover the pot and continue to steam for another 2-4 minutes (6-8 minutes total).