Louisiana Mussel “Sauce Piquante” with Garlic Bread Recipe

  • 2 pounds mussels (preferably cultivated)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 small green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • a 14- to 16-ounce can whole tomatoes including juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne For garlic bread
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted
  • a 12-inch piece French or Italian bread
  1. Scrub mussels well and remove beards. Finely chop onion, celery, and bell pepper. In a 6- to 8-quart heavy kettle melt butter over moderately low heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, stirring constantly, until color of peanut butter, about 6 minutes. Stir in vegetables and cook, covered, until soft. Stir in tomato paste, broth, tomatoes with juice, and cayenne and bring mixture to a boil, breaking up tomatoes. Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes, or until thickened.
  2. While sauce is simmering, make garlic bread:
  3. Preheat broiler.
  4. Mince garlic and mash to a paste with a pinch salt. In a small saucepan melt butter over moderate heat and stir in garlic paste. Halve bread horizontally and brush garlic butter on cut sides. On a baking sheet broil bread about 4 inches from heat until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Stir mussels into sauce and simmer, covered, 4 to 8 minutes, or until mussels are opened. (Discard any unopened mussels after 8 minutes.) Divide mussels between 2 bowls.
  6. Season sauce with salt and ladle over mussels. Serve bread on the side.