YaYa’s Mussels with Fresh Fennel, Sausage and Tomatoes

Anyone that knows me knows that I love seafood and with access to the best Atlantic seafood available in Coastal Carolina, seafood of some kind is on the dinner menu at least twice a week.  Summer is the best time for fresh blue crabs, clams, and shrimp, a low country boil/clambake in a pot is standard big holiday fare at our house and great for casual smaller gatherings from time to time. 

Unfortunately, North Atlantic blues are not available very often so I grab them when I see them and lucky me that I hardly ever have to share. 

My original recipe below was submitted to another foodie site some time ago and I am pleased to add it to my blog for others to enjoy.

YaYa’s Mussels with Fresh Fennel, Sausage and Tomatoes

Serves 2 for a dinner serving

  • 1 1/2 ounces finely diced fresh fennel
  • 1 1/2 ounces finely diced shallot, substitute red onion
  • 5 cloves smashed garlic
  • 8 ounces diced linguica sausage
  • 6 ounces fresh diced tomatoes
  • 10 ounces diced, drained, no salt added canned tomatoes
  • 4 Tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 heaping tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 6 ounces of clam juice
  • Two small sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 6 large leaves of fresh basil, 3 for sauce and three for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest curls, a little for garnish
  • 1/8th teaspoon red pepper flakes, careful as the linguica that I use is spicy
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
  • 3 pounds cleaned mussels
  1. 3 pounds cleaned mussels remove beards and toss open mussels if there are any. In a pan large enough to hold 3 lbs. of mussels, sauté linguica in evoo briefly to bring out a little color for the oil, toss in the smashed garlic, shallots, diced fennel, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for a few minutes, just enough to bring out the flavor of the vegetables, about 3 minutes.
  2. Deglaze with white wine ½ cup; reduce slightly, for another minute or so. Add 6 ounces clam broth cook for a another 2 minutes, add tomatoes total 8 ounces canned and 6 ounces fresh and all of the fresh herbs saving some basil and parsley for garnish simmer for 5-7 minutes. This sauce can be made ahead of time and reheated and simmered for another 5 or so minutes before adding the mussels.
  3. When ready, add the mussels to heated sauce and cover the pan, it takes about two minutes for the mussels to open. For serving, toss in the tablespoon of butter and the fresh herbs and pour into a large serving dish or bowl.
  4. Serve with crusty Italian bread and to make it a dinner for two, have a salad ready to serve. You can even make a dish of spaghetti and top it with the mussels and sauce. Notes: The clam broth and the mussels should provide plenty of salt for this recipe and the linguica can be pretty spicy so watch the red pepper flakes. Enjoy! YaYa