Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mussells with a Paella Twist

Good enough to eat!

When I was in Barcelona I learned to cook, what else?  Paella!  Over the weekend I was craving shellfish but didn't feel like doing the whole paella thing.  But I wanted something with tomatoes, too and wanted to try something different than my usual go-to: cherry tomatoes.  Then I recalled the paella recipe and got to work.

Chopped tomatoes and garlic

I will post my paella recipe soon.  It usually starts with seasoning the pan by sautéing a jumbo shrimp with the shell still on.  You remove the shrimp once it's cooked and start frying a diced tomato in extra virgin olive oil.  I didn't have the jumbo shrimp, so I started off cooking the tomatoes over a medium heat.  I finely sliced two cloves of garlic and set them aside to cook when the tomatoes were done. 

The tomato makes a delicious broth

When the tomato mixture was done, I transferred them to a separate bowl and started on the mussells.  As usual, I put 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil in the (same) pan.  Once it was heated, I added the mussells and garlic. 

I added New Zealand cockles to make the dish eye-pleasing

The mussell recipe comes from Vincenzo from Amalfi - so this is a multi-national dish!  Vincenzo didn't include the cockles.  I asked the fish monger to sell me a "handful" just to make the dish more aesthetically pleasing.  You sauté the mussells and cockles in the hot oil along with the garlic.  It cooks very quickly, and as the mussells and cockles started to open, I added in the tomato mixture that I set aside earlier.  There's so much liquid in a tomato that a broth formed while it was resting.  This made for a delicious sauce once combined with the mussells and cockles, which made their own broth. 

Et viola!

The sauce is strictly from the tomato mixture and the mussells and cockles, though you can add some white wine if you wish.  I didn't serve over pasta or rice; I bought a delicious garlic parmesan focaccia bread at Épicerie Boulud earlier in the day.  I heated the focaccia and dipped it in the delicious sauce.  Delicioso!


1/2 lb mussells per person
1/4 lb cockles per person (optional)
1 tomato chopped
2 cloves garlic sliced thinly
2 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 cup of your favorite white wine (optional)


Heat non-stick skillet over medium heat
Add 1/2 tbspn extra virgin olive oil
Once the oil is heated add the tomatoes
Stir around over heat until they get soft - a few minutes
Transfer tomatoes to a side bowl
Add the remaining olive oil
Add the mussells and cockles
Stir over heat until all of the mussells and cockles open
Discard any mussells or cockles that don't open
Add the tomato mixture and stir around till well mixed and sauce forms
If desired add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of your favorite white wine
Serve immediately and enjoy!

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