Friday, December 24, 2010

Mussels Fra Diavola

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a wonderful dish that I love to make at least once during the Christmas holiday. If I were Italian and celebrated the Feast of Seven Fishes, I would include it in my menu for Christmas Eve. That would raise an eyebrow or two because the dish, like vodka sauce for pasta, is an Italian-American creation that is rarely served in Italy. Whatever the origin, mussels prepared in this fashion are a memorable, if messy, treat. Whenever I serve these, I cover the table with vinyl or oilcloth and distribute lobster bibs. It also helps to provide a large bowl or two to hold empty shells. Everyone at the table also receives two dish towels, one damp, the other dry. Only a crab boil is messier than this to serve to folks who eat with gusto. Believe me when I say, my folk have cornered the gusto market and these preparations are a necessity rather than an affectation. Once the mussels have been scrubbed and their beards removed, the dish can be made in minutes. Its heat, the alla diavola, comes from red pepper flakes, so you can manage it to your family's liking as long as you know their tolerance for heat. The dish has just three elements, a spicy red sauce, mussels and linguine. The mussels simmer in sauce and when they open they are served along with the sauce over piping hot linguine. I always serve this with a salad and the best Italian bread I can get my hands on. I do hope you'll try mussels prepared in this fashion. They really are delicious. Here's the recipe.

Mussels Fra Diavola...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite adapted from Gourmet magazine

12 garlic cloves, minced (1/3 cup)
3/4 to 1-1/2 teaspoons dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 (28-oz) can whole tomatoes in purée
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/4 cup drained bottled capers
1/2 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and chopped
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 lb dried linguine
3 lb mussels (preferably cultivated), cleaned (see cooks' note, below)

1) Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with purée, tomato paste, herbs, capers, olives, and wine and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes, until sauce is thick, about 15 minutes.
2) Cook linguine in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain in a colander.
3) While pasta cooks, increase heat under sauce to moderately high and add mussels, then cook, covered, until mussels just open wide, checking frequently after 3 minutes and transferring to a bowl. (Discard any mussels that remain unopened after 6 minutes.)
4) Serve linguine with mussels and sauce. Yield: 6 servings.

Cooks' note:
1) Scrub mussels with a brush under cold water and scrape off any barnacles with a knife. Remove beard by pulling it from tip to hinge or by pulling and cutting it off with knife.
2) Tomato sauce, without mussels, can be made and refrigerated 2 days before serving.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Salt Cod and Tomato Stew - One Perfect Bite
Feast of the Seven Fishes - Italian Food Forever
Broiled Mussels - Smitten Kitchen
Sauteed Mussels with Garlic - The Housewife Diet
Flexing My Mussels - Charm and Salt
Moules Mariniere - One Perfect Bite
Coconut Curry Mussels - Simply Recipes
Spicy Mussels in White Wine - The Culinary Chronicles
Mario Batali's Feast of the Seven Fishes - Epicurious


Ginny Hartzler said...

I have never eaten a mussel before! But if I ever try one for the first time, It would be yours. I hope you have a most blessed Christmas, Mary!

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons said...

Like Ginny... I've never eaten mussels! I havent met a sea creature (ok ok aside from octopus) that I didn't like to eat through! haha I'm a terrible vegetarian =) but yay mussels! they are on my "to try" list! If i purchase some i'll be sure to try this recipe =)

Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

Angie's Recipes said...

Mary, I love this pasta dish! Looks so tempting!
I wish you and yours a merriest holiday season!

penny aka jeroxie said...

Mussels are so good! Merry Christmas Mary :)

Banana Wonder said...

Delicious! I've never cooked mussels before but your recipe sounds like something I'd start with! Love that tomatoey spice.

Cherine said...

I love mussels and this looks so tempting@

Happy Holidays!

Katerina said...

My husband is a big fan of mussels. This spicy sauce highlights their taste.

Chele said...

What a Christmas treat! Merry Christmas to you and your family


I have always been a little afraid to try fixing mussels. Thanks for leading the way.

Merry Christmas, Mary.

Alessandra said...

Buon Natale Mary!

Priya Suresh said...

Merry Christmas to you and family! yummy mussels..

Joanne said...

I'll be honest with you. As Italian as my family claims to be, they have no idea that this is not really Italian. So I would feel free to make it if I were questions asked! Looks delicious!

Deana Sidney said...

I just did shrimp fra diavolo... and love it madly.. must try mussels this way!!! I hope you and yours have a wonderul Christmas...I know it will be delicious!

My Little Space said...

Vodka sauce sounds really interesting, Mary! I'm sure everyone would love it. What about the little guy? Guess, he going to enjoy the mussels! ha! Wishing you & your family a very Merry Christmas and hope you're all having a marvelous time. Enjoy the night! May god bless you all.
Best wishes, Kristy ((hugs))

Unknown said...

One of my favorites and also on our menu this evening!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Jamie said...

Oh, mary, this must be one of my favorite dishes and I have many memories of eating it all over the world. Gorgeous dish and a recipe I will snag from you! Wishing you a very merry, joyous holiday season filled with good health and all wonderful things! xo

D said...

Mary, I can taste those mussels!

I wanted to be sure to wish you and Bob a joyous and blessed Christmas and thank you for being a wonderful part of my 2010.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Just love mussels prepared that way. Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas.

the sandwich life said...

good lord but those look wonderful!!! It's been TOO long since I had mussels....mmm-mmmmm...

Unknown said...

That looks so mouth-watering.
Have a wonderful Christmas Mary. May joy and happiness snow on you and your family. :)

Tasha said...

This recipe sounds amazing, and I know my husband would absolutely LOVE them. I wish definitely bookmark this for a special treat for him!

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Mary.

Sushma Mallya said...

looks very nice, havent tasted mussels yet but seems good..

Kath said...

Your Mussels Fra Diavola look fabulous, Mary! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

A very Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I'm so glad to have discovered your blog this year!

Unknown said...

Yummy and comforting.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


Jeannie said...

My family love mussels and this looks like a great recipe to try....Merry Christmas to you and family Mary:D

Chef Dennis Littley said...

what beautiful picture of those lovely mussels!! My wife prefers them in a white sauce, but I do love them red, and of course they have to be spicy!
Have a wonderful holiday!

lena said...

the mussels looks so inviting..this is going to be delicious!

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

I lovee mussels sooo muc!!
Love what u did with them!
Oh so delish!!
merry Christmas Mary ,with lods of love!

Emily Z said...

Ooooh, I love mussels. I haven't had them in ages and never made my own. They look delicious!

Jayanthy Kumaran said...

delicious recipe..
Wishing you n your family a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS N NEW YEAR Mary..:)
Tasty appetite

Pondside said...

Yummy! I have herring for the Great Dane's stocking (well, actually it's a note for his stocking, telling him to look in the fridge) but I'll be he'd love a big pot of mussels during the holidays, too.

Melinda said...

I'm not too sure about this one --it will take some mulling over. :)

Wishing you a bright Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Mrs K said...

Yummy Recipe,I love mussels in broth/stock but this sounds so complete:) Wish you a very Merry Christmas and the best from 2011,lots of love & hugs,God Bless!!!

Janice said...

Wish I could come round your house for a taste of this dish. I am addicted to seafood! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

FOODalogue said...

Love your ideas for 'keeping it clean' for this delicious dish.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful dishes.

All the best in 2011,

Maris (In Good Taste) said...

I recently started loving mussels...I have always been a seafood person but recently discovered how good mussels are. Yum1

Create. Snap. Eat. said...

I can almost smell and taste these! How wonderful.

rebecca @ beurrista said...

Sounds fantastic! Will have to try.

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