Pan Stew of Shellfish and Tomatoes

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

WarNing! Once you have read this recipe, you can no longer use the excuse that you don’t have time to cook. Line up the ingredients by the stove and, if measuring slows you down, just use your judgement. The butter is optional but well worth it. Feel free to double the recipe and serve it as a quick family dinner. Guests will love it, too. Serve with crusty bread. To eat this dish, first search your bowl for an empty mussel shell, then use it as tongs to pry the Meat from the remaining mussels. Beats a fork every time.

NotesFor a pretty presentation, garnish with a few whole or halved cherry tomatoes and whole herb leaves.

Serves4 as a first course, 2 as a main course

Cooking Methodsauteeing



Total Timeunder 30 minutes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursehot appetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Texturebuttery, garlicky, herby, savory, winey


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoons sliced garlic
  • 1½ pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large yellow tomatoes, peeled and cut into chunks about the same size as the mussels
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh purple or green basil
  • 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and sauté briefly until light brown. Add the mussels and white wine and season with salt and pepper. Stir, then cover and cook until the mussels begin to open, about 2 minutes. As they open, transfer them with a slotted spoon to a plate. Discard any that do not open.

  2. Cook the juices over medium-high heat until reduced by about half. Add the tomatoes and cook quickly, just until they begin to color the juice, about 30 seconds. Do not overcook or they will melt into the sauce (which is hardly a terrible crime). Add the herbs and the butter, if using. When the butter has melted, return the mussels to the pan with any juices accumulated on the plate. Stir, and toss just to reheat. Serve immediately.


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