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Steamed Mussels with Pesto and Tomatoes

  • TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 8
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Marc Murphy ate garlicky, pesto-smothered mussels during the summers he spent as a kid at his grandmother's home outside Nice.

  1. 2 cups basil leaves (from one 2-ounce bunch)
  2. 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  3. 5 garlic cloves—1 whole, 4 thinly sliced
  4. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  5. 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  7. 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
  10. 1 cup dry white wine
  11. 5 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  12. Crusty bread, for serving
  1. In a mini food processor, combine the basil, walnuts and whole garlic clove and pulse until fine. Add the Parmesan and 2 tablespoons of the oil and process until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and add the butter. Stir in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a very large, deep skillet or large soup pot, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallots and sliced garlic and cook over high heat, stirring, until lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add the white wine and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the mussels and stir for 1 minute. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the mussels have opened, about 6 minutes. Add the pesto and tomatoes and stir until the butter is thoroughly melted and the mussels are evenly coated. Transfer the mussels and broth to bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Suggested Pairing

A lively, grapefruit-inflected Sauvignon Blanc from France's Loire Valley.