Moroccan Mussels

If you want a great appetizer that is big on presentation but low on price, mussels are the way to go. Much less expensive than clams or oysters, mussels (one step above a barnacle in the bivalve food chain) are flavorful, quick to steam, and always look beautiful! Here is a new way to prepare them…Northern African style…that will have your guests saying “Wow! I’ve never tasted mussels like this before!”

If your fish monger or seafood department gives you the option of a plastic bag or a net bag, take the net. Bivalves, like oysters, clams and mussels, are still alive and need to breath (don’t overthink that or you’ll never buy them) so the net keeps them from suffocating. If you do have to place them in a plastic bag, don’t seal it. Discard any open mussels, as they are dead.

Moroccan Mussels

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3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2+ teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Harissa (or 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup chicken broth (can be made with bouillon)
1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 (15.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (or the equivalent in fresh diced tomatoes)
3 lb mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon for garnish

Mince the garlic, onion and ginger. Heat the olive oil in your “large pot”…the one with a lid that you use all the time. Sauté the garlic, onion and ginger on a low flame until softened. Add the cumin, Harissa (or cayenne pepper), cinnamon, sugar and vinegar. Heat through for 2 minutes, stirring.

Add the cans of chick peas, tomatoes and cup of chicken broth. Cook on a low/medium flame for 10 minutes.

Add mussels, cover and steam for 5 minutes until shells open.

Stir in parsley and serve with lemon wedges.


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