This mussel stew is great to serve for casual gatherings: everyone digs in and gets a little messy. Classic Neapolitan versions call for nothing more than mussels, tomatoes, oil, garlic and parsley, but here we add a splash of wine and colorful, zesty gremolata.
Mussel Stew with Fennel Gremolata
For the gremolata:
1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) finely chopped fennel fronds
1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (28 oz./875 g) diced tomatoes
1 small fresh hot chile, minced, or a generous pinch of red pepper flakes
3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) dry white wine
4 lb. (2 kg) mussels, scrubbed and debearded, if needed
4 slices toasted country bread
To make the gremolata, in a bowl, stir together the fennel fronds, parsley, garlic and lemon and orange zests. Set aside.
In a large, wide saucepan big enough to hold the mussels over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and chile and raise the heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes, just enough to allow the flavors to blend. Pour in the wine, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Slide in the mussels, discarding any that do not close to the touch, and cover the pan. Cook at a lively simmer until the mussels have opened, 5 to 7 minutes. Discard any mussels that fail to open.
Place a slice of toasted bread in the bottom of each of 4 shallow bowls. Ladle the stew over the bread. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each serving, sprinkle with the gremolata and serve. Serves 4.
Find more recipes like this one in our enticing collection of authentic dishes made modern, Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti.