Green-lip Mussels, cooked with Saffron and Tomatoes
- 4 1/2 pounds (2 kilograms) Green-lip mussels, cleaned and washed
- 2 1/2 cups (600 grams) ripe diced tomatoes
- A good handful fresh basil leaves
- A good handful fresh parsley leaves
- A good handful fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron
- 2 1/4 cups (500 milliliters) Sauvignon Blanc (I used my friend Michael Seresin?s 2001 vintage)
- 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) lemon infused olive oil (again, I used Michael Seresin?s own oil)
Note: This dish really is a hands-on one. There's no way getting around using your fingers to eat this, unless you can really be bothered to take the mussels out of their shells for your guests. If you can't get your hands on fresh whole Green-lip mussels, you may be able to find some that have been prepped already, whereby they come in the half shell, already partly cooked. If this is the case, make the recipe as follows, but don't add the mussels. Cook the tomato broth for 4 minutes, before adding them and cooking a further 2 minutes.
Place the mussels in a large pot with a tight fitting lid and add the next 6 ingredients. Mix well, then pour on the wine and oil. Place over a high heat, bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Take the lid off the pot and give the mussels a stir, put the lid back on and cook a further 2 minutes. They're cooked when they all open, however you occasionally get some that are stubborn and refuse to play ball, so when you serve them discard these.
I like to scoop out the mussels into a large ceramic bowl and leave it covered and warm while I serve my guests the broth as a first course in flat soup bowls. Then I bring the mussels to the table and serve them with a huge spoon into the soup bowls, then use the ceramic bowl for the discarded shells. I serve the mussels with lots of fresh crusty bread.