1 cup chopped tomatoes in sauce (I use San Marzano)
2 dried chiles de arbol
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
½ lemon, juiced
½ teaspoon lemon zest
2 lb mussels (see Kayla’s notes)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
Crusty Garlic Bread
1 loaf crusty Italian bread
olive oil, to drizzle
1 garlic clove
In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until soft. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the tomatoes, chiles, thyme, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Toss in the mussels. Cover the pot with a lid and steam them for about 3-5 minutes. Immediately remove the mussels as soon as they open. Cover the lid and repeat until all the mussels have cooked. If the mussels do not open, discard them. To finish, stir in the butter, parsley, and oregano to the broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven and turn the broiler on high. Slice the loaf of bread into 1-inch slices. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and drizzle each side with olive oil. Toast in the broiler until crispy but still soft in the middle, just a minute or two on each side (watch them carefully…they will burn quickly). When they are hot, rub the garlic clove on each piece of bread.
Serve the mussels in a large bowl with a generous amount of the spicy tomato-wine broth spooned over the top. Dip the crusty garlic bread into the broth.
To clean, rinse and scrub the mussels under cold running water. Any mussels that are slightly open should be discarded (they should all be closed tightly shut or else they are dead). Lastly, check for thin, slightly sticky membranes on the side of each mussel, known as their “beard”. You must debeard them by pulling down on the membrane and pulling it off.