17 Feb2013


Thrilled with the results of my previous experiment with the frozen shelled mussels, the next day I decided to cook the remaining 600 grams of frozen mussels in a spicy tomato sauce. This was a nice tapas or appetizer — and so easy to eat.


I sauteed some shallots and garlic in olive oil and butter.


Added some white wine (could have been red wine, but we didn’t have an open bottle) and let that simmer a while, seasoned generously with salt and pepper, added two finely minced siling labuyo or bird’s eye chilies, and some chopped parsley. Then I added about 2 cups of canned tomatoes and let this boil down until thickened a bit.


Add the mussels and let them cook for a few minutes, until done. Remove the mussels and plate them up (we used little cermaic tapas plates) while you return sauce to flames to thicken it up a bit. Spoon the sauce over the mussels and sprinkle with chopped parsley and basil. Serve with toasted slices of baguette.


This was pretty good, but flavors a bit muddled. It needed to be sharper, less ambiguous. The mussels remained very tender, despite their trip from Chile… and if I didn’t tell you I’m sure few would guess they had been in deep freeze for several weeks or months. I am quite partial to tomato based sauces, but I have to say, this was one of the few times that I felt the first version of mussels, without tomatoes, was a better tasting dish overall. This was good, just not slam dunk good… But it was certainly rather photogenic. :)

P.S. I think this would be delicious with some spaghetti noodles instead of bread…



  1. PITS, MANILA says:

    i know i will enjoy this and the one before! and yes, i remember trips to the CR/ER. no matter.

    Feb 17, 2013 | 6:10 am


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  3. kristin says:

    eyyy! my mouth simply watered, and i just had dinner! mussels are very fine here in the part of the world, it wouldnt lead you to the restroom..so, when my diet permits i do the same as topping for pasta, and without the tomato is just good with plain hot rice..

    Feb 17, 2013 | 7:30 am

  4. max says:

    gorgeous color, i love spicy foods…yum

    Feb 17, 2013 | 9:11 am

  5. MP says:

    Gorgeous! I wonder if this and the other recipe would work well with scallops….

    MM, do you generally use DRY white wine for cooking? Is there any other type? If so, does the type alter the taste? Interested to know because hubby just uses whatever is open and says it doesn’t matter what type. He says that we shouldn’t cook with wine which we don’t like to drink!

    Feb 17, 2013 | 1:32 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    MP, I would have to agree with your husband. I wouldn’t cook with something I wouldn’t drink, but having said that, I wouldn’t cook with a really special bottle of wine either. I generally use a dry white wine, not an overly sweet, dessertish white wine. There is just a bit of the flavor left in the dish after burning off the alcohol and adding the other ingredients, so it’s more an added layer of flavor than an essential must be one type of wine kind of thing.

    Feb 17, 2013 | 1:35 pm

  7. Papa Ethan says:

    Do you think adding some paprika would give that “sharper” taste you were looking for?

    Thanks for tipping us about the frozen mussels. One day very early in the morning, I saw how they handle mussels in Farmers’ Market: sacks were being unloaded on the street right by the gutter, for sorting out into different sizes. Yuck!

    Feb 17, 2013 | 11:15 pm

  8. g says:

    the solution to your cooking wine problem is to drink anything.

    Feb 18, 2013 | 11:55 am

  9. corrine says:

    Hi MM. I like mussels but the problem is where to source it. Don’t like the ones from Cavite…might not be clean. I bought from S&R some years back but they were huge!

    Feb 18, 2013 | 5:22 pm

  10. margie says:

    hi mm! just wondering if it is “safe” to eat frozen mussels? isnt it a given that clams and mussels should be cooked fresh since you will only know a good mussel if the shell opens while cooking? i was craving for vongole while in honolulu a few years back but i couldnt find manila clams. i did find FROZEN Manila clams and it was a disaster. not only did all the black sand get into my butter and white wine sauce but the taste was askew and so i threw the whole thing out rather then food poisoning my family. just double checking :) thanks!

    Feb 18, 2013 | 6:04 pm

  11. Marketman says:

    margie, these mussels are already cooked then frozen. They are steamed, picked out of their shells and flash frozen. I know what you mean about being wary of frozen shellfish… but in the past few years, I have been using frozen New Zealand, Australian (Tasmanian) mussels and now chilean mussels to very good results. I have never used frozen clams or oysters, however. corrine, yes, the green lipped mussels in S&R are from New Zealand, and a bit large and sometimes tough. I tend to use them only for baked mussels. But these frozen ones from Chile were nice and small, and remained succulent and tender after cooking… so I hope these become regularly available.

    Feb 18, 2013 | 8:14 pm


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