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Basque Steamed Mussels

Yield Makes 5 or 6 servings
Notes: Chef Scott A. Barton, at Plouf in San Francisco, steams blue-black mussels in a vivid red broth of roasted peppers, then adds homemade habanero vinegar for a zing to match the color.


  • 5 red bell peppers (2 1/2 lb. total)
  • 1 green bell pepper (1/2 lb.)
  • About 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups bottled clam juice or fat-skimmed chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • About 2 teaspoons habanero vinegar or hot sauce
  • 6 dozen mussels (about 3 in. each), beards pulled off, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt

Nutrition Information

  • calories 168
  • caloriesfromfat 23 %
  • protein 10 g
  • fat 4.2 g
  • satfat 0.6 g
  • carbohydrate 18 g
  • fiber 3.5 g
  • sodium 367 mg
  • cholesterol 18 mg

How to Make It

  1. Place red and green peppers in a 10- by 15-inch pan. Broil about 4 inches from heat until pepper skins are charred and blistered all over, turning as needed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool. Pull off and discard skins, stems, and seeds. Chop red and green peppers separately.

  2. In a food processor or blender, purée 3/4 of the red peppers until smooth.

  3. In a 6- to 8-quart pan over high heat, combine 1 teaspoon olive oil and the garlic. Stir often until garlic is limp, about 1 minute. Add onion, clam juice, wine, 1 teaspoon habanero vinegar, and red pepper purée. Cover and bring to a boil.

  4. Discard any gaping mussels that do not close when shells are tapped. Add mussels to pan, cover, and cook until shells pop open, 5 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer mussels to wide bowls.

  5. Add chopped green and red peppers to broth; bring to a boil. Add parsley and season mixture to taste with salt and more habanero vinegar. Ladle over mussels. Drizzle each serving with olive oil to taste.