Photograph by Theo Vamvounakis Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Voodoo Mussels

Starters from Issue 6 – Fall / Winter 2015 – Magic

The magic of mussels is intrinsic. Replete with iron, vitamin B12 for brain function, and selenium to balance mood, we like to think they make you smart and happy. We packed our pot with Cajun spice, plus peppery arugula for added swampiness. Pair with a crusty loaf; just be mindful of Cajun superstition—never eat bread ends before the middle or you’ll have trouble making ends meet.

serves 4 as a starter, or 3 as a main

  • 2 lb mussels, scrubbed
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery
  • ½ cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic
  • ½ tsp each black pepper, paprika, and chili powder
  • ¼ tsp each salt and cayenne
  • ½ Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • tsp dried thyme
  • 2 large handfuls baby arugula

  • 1

    Scrub and rinse the mussels discarding any that have broken shells or don’t close when tapped. Set aside.

  • 2

    Heat oil in a wide-bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir in half the onion and cook, stirring until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining onion, celery, green pepper, garlic, and spices, and cook until softened, 15 to 20 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, ¼ cup water, and thyme, and bring to a simmer. Simmer 5 minutes, covered.

  • 3

    Stir in the mussels and cook, covered, shaking the pot occasionally until all the mussels are wide open, 3 to 4 minutes. Discard any that have not opened. Stir in arugula and cook 1 minute, covered, until wilted. For the true believers, serve with hot sauce… though it will be pretty damn hot already.