This recipe is truly special. So special that I recently ate it in a dream. These briny mussels submerged in spicy velvety tomato sauce would be lovely on their own, but pouring them all over a thick slice of crunchy, perfectly golden fried garlic bread makes the dish an all-time favorite. Eat it once and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way. Pair it with Castello delle Regine Rose for the perfect summertime meal.
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for finishing
5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28 ounce can tomato pureé
1/2 cup white wine
4 Tablespoons butter
1-2 thick slices of sourdough or any good, rustic bread
The zest and juice of one lemon
1 pound of mussels, scrubbed and debearded
Chopped parsley for garnish
In a large dutch oven or large pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add 3 cloves of garlic and 1 tbsp red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant. Add tomato paste, stir and cook about 2 minutes. Add tomato pureé and cook about 5 minutes. Add wine, season with salt and pepper, stir, and set aside to simmer.
In a separate frying pan heat 2 tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Add 2 tbsp garlic, one tsp red pepper flakes and 2 tbsp butter. Fry bread in garlic butter until golden brown on both sides. While bread is frying, add mussels, lemon juice, and half of the lemon’s zest to the tomato sauce. Cover and cook until all mussels open. Transfer bread to a large plate and pour mussels in tomato sauce over bread. Garnish with parsley, remaining lemon zest, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
Lee Kalpakis is a recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in her family’s restaurant in the Hudson Valley and has since worked as a cook, host, producer, and writer in the food media world. She loves natural wine, summer produce, and rock and roll music.