Mussels Saganaki

Mussels are absolutely delicious, inexpensive and easy to cook. They are also a good source of selenium, zinc and protein, amongst other nutrients.

Saganaki translates to ‘little frying pan’ and also refers to many dishes cooked in Greece.

Mussels + Saganaki = Mussels Saganaki… the most mouthwatering, scrumptious bowl of saucy steamed mussels.

There are many versions of Mussels Saganaki. Today, I share a family recipe, which is simple to follow- mussels bathed in homemade sauce with fresh herbs.

I love to eat mussels on top of pasta or rice, but it is equally delicious on top of french fries or served with bread.

This is one of my favourite summer seafood recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1kg mussels, shelled
  • 1 spanish onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tomatoes (grated)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of dry oregano
  • 1/2 cup parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh dill
  • 1/2 chili pepper (finely chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Rinse mussels well under cool running water. If any of the mussels are open, and do not close when they are handled and rinsed, discard them. Pull the beards from the mussels and brush off any barnacles that may be on the shell surface. Rinse under cold water and set them aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Fry the mussels for just 3 minutes and take them out of the pan.
  3. Add the onion to the pan that contains the remaining olive oil and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.
  4. Add the salt, garlic, granulated sugar, lemon juice, dill, dry oregano and parsley. Mix.
  5. Add the chili pepper, lower heat and add the tomatoes.
  6. Bring the sauce to a boil and allow most of the liquid to evaporate.
  7. Add the shelled mussels. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cover. Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes.
  8. Remove lid to check on mussels- the shells should be open.
  9. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  10. Sprinkle finely chopped parsley on top and serve with bread. Enjoy!

Note: Make sure that the mussels you are cooking are fresh and safe to consume. As you are washing the mussels, make sure they are able to close and stay closed. This means that they are still alive; mussels will open and close their shell sporadically when out of water. Once they are cooked, the mussels will open. Any mussels which remain closed after cooking should also be discarded.