Recipe courtesy of Laura Norris

Bertha's Favorite Mussels

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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1 to 3 cloves garlic, smashed with back of knife

6 anchovy fillets

Pulp of 3 or 4 tomatoes

Black pepper

1 lemon, juiced

1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced

Olive oil, for sauteeing

4 pounds mussels, debearded and scrubbed

1/2 cup white wine, plus 1/2 cup

2 or 3 leaves basil


  1. In a mortar and pestle, pulverize garlic, anchovies, tomato pulp, and pepper. Add lemon juice gradually and mix thoroughly to a soft paste. Set aside.
  2. In chicken fryer pan with deep sides, saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Add mussels and 1/2 cup of the wine. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until mussels open, about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not allow to dry out. Add more wine, if needed. Take out mussels, arrange on a serving platter.
  3. To pan juices (add more wine, if needed), add the garlic paste. Stir thoroughly. Pour over mussels. Decorate with basil leaves and serve with hunks of good Italian peasant bread (for sopping up juice).