Do you ever find that, no matter how many times you go out to eat or how many new restaurants you try, you always end up ordering the same thing? For me, that “same thing” is always mac and cheese as a main dish–I like to say it’s because I’m on a quest for the best one in New York City, but really, I think I’m just an addict. Another dish I’m going steady with? Mussels in a bread bowl.
In. A. Bread. Bowl. Just wanted to make sure you heard that correctly, because how could anything served in a bowl made out of crusty, warm bread not be delicious? Now add fresh mussels and a chunky sweet tomato broth and you’ve got the makings of your new impress-the-guests dinner appetizer.
- 1/2 dozen mussels, cleaned and “debearded” (see how to do this here)
- 1 spanish onion, chopped fine
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (I like San Marzano tomatoes–they’re the best!)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- Fresh parsley
- Dried oregano
In a sauce pan set over medium heat, cook the onions and garlic in a thin layer of olive oil until translucent and fragrant. Add the contents of one can of crushed tomatoes to the pot, then refill the can halfway with water and add that as well. Stir to combine, then cook on medium heat covered, until the sauce is bubbling.
Carefully, add the fresh mussels to the pot along with salt, pepper, a few dashes of oregano and 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley. Stir so the mussels are completely integrated into the sauce, then cover and cook on medium low for 20 minutes (stirring occasionally), or until the shells have popped open. As a rule of thumb, any shells that don’t open, you’ll want to discard–this means the mussel was dead before cooking and could get you sick.
Cut into a loaf of bread with a serrated knife at an angle so that you can remove part of the “top” of the bread. You might need to go back and scoop out some additional bread to create more of a “bowl” to put your mussels in, but just be sure to leave enough of a cushion on the bottom and sides so that your sauce doesn’t leak through/out.
Ladle the cooked mussels and some extra sauce into the bread bowl and serve immediately. You’ll need an additional bowl for the shells, and your hands at the ready for the best part–scooping out all that sauce-soaked bread once you get to it! Enjoy!