Don's Mussels Saganaki
An old friend from Edmonton taught me this recipe, as she had the great fortune of spending a couple of months in Greece every winter. This recipe can be made year-round using canned tomatoes. My friend Joe, the chef at Osteria Napoli in Vancouver, insists that La Molisana canned tomatoes are the best, and I agree. Try buying the ones that are packed with some basil leaf.
- 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat, then add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Sauté until the onion is translucent, then add the oregano and thyme. Stir around for a bit, then add the can of tomatoes and their juices, and the red wine. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors develop. Return to a boil, then throw in the mussels and cover the pot. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. Just before serving, stir in the feta cheese and basil leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with lots of crusty bread.
Pesto and Goat Cheese Oysters
Take one dozen oysters, at least medium size, or 6 large beach oysters. Put on a tray and bake in a 400F oven for about 5-10 minutes or until the shells start to pop open. Or put them on a hot barbecue and grill until they pop open. Wait until they cool a bit, then pry off and discard the top shells. Mix together half a cup of soft goat's cheese (chevre) with a quarter cup store-bought pesto. (or your own home-made if you prefer). Slather the tops of the oysters with the cheese mixture, then return to the oven or bbq and reheat until the cheese has melted a bit. Serve immediately.
Take 2 ounces of good Canadian whisky, the juice of one mandarin orange and a teaspoon of sugar. Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice for 10 seconds and strain into a martini glass. Makes one serving. Please don't drink and drive...