Sake Mussels

Mussels in Sake

Mussels are my favorite shellfish to cook, but only if I can get my hands on the live ones from New Zealand. The combination of earthy sweetness from the flesh and saltiness from the sea gives it a special flavor. This version was born out of a tiredness of the white wine garlic or beer base which mussels are usually cooked in. Sake gives a much better aftertaste.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 pack of live New Zealand Mussels
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes or 2 large fresh tomatoes
  • Basil (Fresh or Dried)
  • 4 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 large Yellow Onion
  • Sake

Getting it Done!

  1. Wash the mussels, remove the ‘beards’, set aside in a bowl and refrigerate it
  2. Start by making the base sauce which the mussels will be steamed in
  3. Finely dice the tomatoes, onion and the garlic
  4. In a heavy base pan, add enough olive oil to cover the base
  5. Over medium heat, brown the onions, stir every 2-3 minutes or so
  6. When the onions are light brown, add the garlic (always onions before garlic as garlic burns easily)
  7. After about 3 minutes, add the tomatoes, generous amount of basil, a few pinches of salt and black pepper
  8. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the tomatoes are very soft
  9. Taste, adjust accordingly and leave it aside to cool
  10. After about 30 minutes, blend the mixture
  11. Place 2 to 3 generous ladles of the mixture back into the pan over medium heat (The rest can be used a tomato sauce if you reduce it, or as tomato soup if you add some chicken stock)
  12. When the mixture is simmering, add a generous splash of sake, stir, taste and adjust accordingly. Feel free to add more sake.
  13. Add the mussels at this point and cover the pan. If you don’t have a cover press a layer of aluminum foil directly over the mussels
  14. Let this cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until most of the mussels have opened up
  15. Done!
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