spicy mussels

spicy mussels

This rich spicy mussels sauce was inspired by a dish served at our neighborhood Italian bistro. Their sauce is so good, I sop up every last drop with the crusty bread they serve along side. The shellfish release moisture as they steam, so you only need a few cups of the sauce to start the process. Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste made from red chilies, cumin, caraway, garlic and olive oil. It is easy to make, but I pick it up in the ethnic section of my grocery store. It adds a bit of kick to a flank steak marinade or some homemade hummus. The fire-roasted tomatoes add a smoky flavor.

spicy mussels

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leak, chopped, white part only
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons harissa, adjust for desired spice
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted tomatoes, smooth in blender
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed
  • garnish: lemon juice and chopped parsley



In Dutch oven on cook top burner heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.


Add leak, garlic and chili powder. Sweat until transparent.


Add wine and cook two minutes.


Add harissa, fire roasted tomatoes and butter, simmer for 5 minutes.


Meanwhile, remove the beards and scrub the mussel shells.


Add the uncooked mussels and continue to simmer until the shells open. Discard any unopened shells.


Spoon into bowls and include some of the sauce.


Garnish with a dash of lemon and chopped parsley.

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