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Mussels in Sailor's Sauce

Mussels are a staple in the cooking of Galicia, a rugged coastal region in northwestern Spain. The unusual name for this dish refers to the fast, fresh sauces (which usually contained onions and tomatoes) that the wives of fishermen would prepare from their husbands' catch of the day.

slideshow More Amazing Seafood Recipes

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato—peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, lightly crumbled
  • Large pinch of Spanish saffron, lightly crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Albariño
  • 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1/2 cup fish stock or bottled clam juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Crusty country bread, for serving


  1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeño and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato, oregano and saffron and cook for 1 minute, stirring. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir it in. Add the wine and mussels, cover the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the fish stock, parsley and lemon juice and cook over high heat, stirring, until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Transfer the mussels and their sauce to deep bowls. Serve at once with crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
Photo © Quentin Bacon Published September 2004

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