Mussels Saganaki

This recipe from our first cookbook ‘The New Zealand Seafood Cookbook’ showcases our amazing NZ mussels topped with flavours of the Mediterranean.  Perfect as an entrée or part of a mixed platter.

Serves:  4 (entree).  Chef:  Petra New.

20 green-lipped mussels
Extra virgin olive oil
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100gm tin whole peeled tomatoes plus juice
1 bay leaf
1 tsp white sugar
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
100gm feta, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven grill.
2. Place mussels into a lidded pot and place over a high heat. When hot, add one-quarter of the water and replace lid quickly keeping loss of the steam to a minimum. Steam open the mussels until only just cooked. Strain the mussels and reserve the cooking liquid.
3. Remove top shells and clean each mussel, removing the foot and any beard and check for baby crabs. Set mussels aside.
4. Place a pot on a medium heat. Add oil and sauté onion and garlic until fragrant. Crush tomatoes with your hand and add to the pot along with the bay leaf, sugar and thyme, and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, if the sauce is too dry add some of the steaming liquid.
5. Season to taste, keeping in mind that the feta is salty.
6. Add the chopped parsley and remove from the heat. Remove the bay leaf and thyme stalks.
7. Spoon the sauce over the mussels in the half shell, crumble the feta over and place under grill for 3-5 minutes until slightly browned and bubbling.

An image from The New Zealand Seafood Cookbook by Auckland Seafood School. Food photography by Sean Shadbolt. Published by Penguin Group NZ.

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