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Mussel broth scented with basil and saffron

"The sweet combination of saffron, tomatoes and basil gives balance to the briny mussels," says Cooke.

You'll need

100 ml olive oil 50 gm each carrot, celery, onion and golden shallot, finely diced 5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 4 vine-ripened tomatoes, bases scored ¾ tsp saffron threads 1 cup (firmly packed) basil, stalks reserved 1 fresh bay leaf 1 thyme sprig 100 ml dry white wine 500 ml (2 cups) fish stock 1 kg black mussels, beards removed 200 ml pouring cream


  • 01
  • Heat a frying pan over high heat, add olive oil, vegetables and garlic, and cook covered with a tight-fitting lid until just tender (5-7 minutes).
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, blanch tomatoes until skins split (20 seconds), drain and refresh in iced water. Drain, then remove and reserve skins and seeds, dice flesh and set aside.
  • 03
  • Add saffron, basil stalks, bay leaf, thyme, tomato skins and seeds to vegetables, season to taste, and cook covered until vegetables are tender (5-10 minutes). Remove lid, add wine and reduce by half (5-10 minutes). Add stock and bring to a rapid boil. Add mussels, cover and cook until mussels begin to open (3-5 minutes), then remove from stock. Discard basil stalks, bay leaf and thyme, add cream, bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
  • 04
  • Remove mussels from shells and transfer half to a blender, add broth and process until smooth, then strain through a fine sieve, season to taste and bring to a simmer.
  • 05
  • Divide remaining mussels among serving bowls with diced tomato and basil leaves, then pour hot mussel broth over and serve.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

Equipo Navazos La Bota de Fino Sherry, Jerez.

Featured in

Oct 2014

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