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Spanish Mussels in a Tomato Sofrito Sauce

Written By: Byron | November 21, 2023
Spanish mussels in a rich tomato sofrito sauce sit in a bowl garnished with some fresh parsley.

Spanish mussels in a tomato sofrito sauce is a classic Spanish seafood recipe that you need to know! It’s easy to make and requires relatively few ingredients, but the result is a rich flavorful tomato sofrito sauce that perfectly seasons the mussels once they are simmered down in the sauce with some white wine. 

The saffron gives the dish some color and a little Spanish paprika and white pepper really help round off the flavors. Serve with plenty of fresh bread and garnish with some freshly squeezed lemon and freshly chopped parsley. In this recipe guide, we’ll look at how to make Spanish mussels in a rich tomato sofrito sauce, and how to choose and prepare mussels. Let’s cook some mussels!

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Serving:

Tapas for 4

Ready in:

23 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread

A bowl of uncooked mussels sits next to some tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices, and oil.

How to make Spanish Mussels in a Tomato Sofrito Sauce

    • Prep time: 6 minutes (Add more time if your mussels don’t come cleaned and debearded)
    • Cook time: 17 minutes
    • Total time: 23 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 16 oz (450g) mussels (scrubbed and de-bearded)
    • 2 tomatoes, grated and skin removed
    • 1 white onion (chopped fine)
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon Spanish sweet paprika (pimentón dulce)
    • ½ teaspoon white pepper
    • 1 pinch Spanish saffron threads
    • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
    • Salt (to taste)
    • 1 Lemon (juice)

    For serving

    • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
    • 1 baguette (for serving) 

    Equipment needed

    • Box grater
    • Sharp kitchen knife and cutting board
    • Large deep-sided pot with lid 

    Method

    Step 1 – Prepare Sofrito Sauce

    • Brown onion in a little oil (5 minutes).
    • Add garlic and grated tomatoes, and simmer for around 4 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant.
    • Add paprika and white pepper (season to taste with a little salt if required), mix well, and allow to simmer on medium heat for 3 minutes. 

    Step 2 – Cook Mussels

    • Add white wine to sofrito sauce and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and add the saffron threads. Add the sprig of fresh rosemary. 
    • Add cleaned mussels and mix through with the sauce. Cover and cook for around 5 minutes (or until all mussels have opened)

    Step 3 – Serve

    • Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley.
    • Serve straight away with lots of fresh bread.

     Watch step-by-step recipe video

    If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

    How to Choose the Best Mussels to Buy

    Mussels are delicious if you’re a seafood lover and are inexpensive in many countries. Choosing mussels isn’t difficult and you should always look out for mussels that are stored on a bed of ice. Mussels are sold live and deteriorate very quickly when not stored properly. 

    The mussels should be wet and many fishmongers will mist their catch to help keep them as fresh as possible. Mussel shells will also be closed, and mussels with opened or damaged shells should be discarded. If in any doubt, ask your fishmonger for the freshest catch. 

    Mussels should smell like the sea when fresh and are sold either cleaned (most farm-raised mussels are cleaned) or natural (dirty with grit and barnacles still attached). Both are fine and it’s easy enough to clean mussel shells if you have some time. If you’re short on time, choose cleaned mussels — it will say on the packaging, or ask your fishmonger. 

    When buying mussels from a supermarket, always check the labeling for an indication of when they were caught and when they must be consumed. Ensure they are wet and/or stored on ice or in a fridge.

    How to Clean and Debeard Mussels 

    Most store-bought mussels will have been cleaned to a certain degree, but you will want to inspect and remove any grit before cooking with them. 

    Clean Mussel Shells

    The easiest way to clean mussel shells of grit and any barnacles is to use steel wool or a stiff scrubbing brush. Add your mussels to a colander and gently scrub each shell to remove any grit (as required). 

    Debeard Mussels

    To debeard mussels (a lot of farm-raised mussels will already have the beards removed) firmly grasp the thin tuft of membrane and tug downwards along the shell line toward the end of the shell. It should come away easily enough, although some larger mussels will require more force to remove the beard. 

    Inspect Shells and Rinse

    Once your mussels are cleaned and debearded, inspect and discard any mussels that have cracked or open shells. Rinse your mussels in some freshwater right before cooking them.

    Spanish mussels in a rich tomato sofrito sauce sit in a bowl garnished with some fresh parsley.

    Nutrition Facts

    Servings: 4

    Amount per serving

     

    Calories

    265

    % Daily Value*

    Total Fat 13.4g

    17%

    Saturated Fat 2.3g

    11%

    Cholesterol 32mg

    11%

    Sodium 478mg

    21%

    Total Carbohydrate 11.6g

    4%

    Dietary Fiber 1.5g

    5%

    Total Sugars 3.3g

     

    Protein 14.4g

     

    Vitamin D 0mcg

    0%

    Calcium 54mg

    4%

    Iron 5mg

    28%

    Potassium 617mg

    13%

    *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    Spanish mussels in a rich tomato sofrito sauce sit in a bowl garnished with some fresh parsley.

    Spanish Mussels in a Tomato Sofrito Sauce

    Byron
    Spanish mussels in a tomato sofrito sauce is a classic Spanish seafood recipe that you need to know! It’s easy to make and requires relatively few ingredients, but the result is a rich flavorful tomato sofrito sauce that perfectly seasons the mussels once they are simmered down in the sauce with some white wine.
    5 from 1 vote
    Prep Time 6 minutes
    Cook Time 17 minutes
    Total Time 23 minutes
    Course Appetizer, Main Course, seafood, tapas
    Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Seafood, Spain
    Servings 4 tapas
    Calories 265 kcal

    Equipment

    • Box grater
    • Sharp kitchen knife and Cutting board
    • Large deep-sided pot with lid

    Ingredients

    • 16 oz 450g mussels (scrubbed and de-bearded)
    • 2 tomatoes grated and skin removed
    • 1 white onion chopped fine
    • 3 garlic cloves minced
    • 1 teaspoon Spanish sweet paprika pimentón dulce
    • ½ teaspoon white pepper
    • 1 pinch Spanish saffron threads
    • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
    • 1 cup dry white wine
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt to taste
    • 1 Lemon juice

    For serving

    • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped (for garnish)
    • 1 baguette for serving

    Instructions
     

    Step 1 - Prepare Sofrito Sauce

    • Brown onion in a little oil (5 minutes).
      1 white onion, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • Add garlic and grated tomatoes, and simmer for around 4 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant.
      2 tomatoes, 3 garlic cloves
    • Add paprika and white pepper (season to taste with a little salt if required), mix well, and allow to simmer on medium heat for 3 minutes.
      1 teaspoon Spanish sweet paprika, ½ teaspoon white pepper, Salt

    Step 2 - Cook Mussels

    • Add white wine to sofrito sauce and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and add the saffron threads. Add the sprig of fresh rosemary.
      1 pinch Spanish saffron threads, 1 cup dry white wine, 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
    • Add cleaned mussels and mix through with the sauce. Cover and cook for around 5 minutes (or until all mussels have opened)
      16 oz 450g mussels (scrubbed and de-bearded)

    Step 3 - Serve

    • Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and lemon juice.
      1 Lemon
    • Serve straight away with lots of fresh bread.
      2 tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 baguette

    Video

    Nutrition

    Serving: 150gCalories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 11.6gProtein: 14.4gFat: 13.4gSaturated Fat: 2.3gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 478mgPotassium: 617mgFiber: 1.5gSugar: 3.3gCalcium: 54mgIron: 5mg
    Keyword 30 minute recipe, mussels, saffron, seafood, sofrito, sofrito sauce, tomato
    Spanish mussels in a rich tomato sofrito sauce sit in a bowl garnished with some fresh parsley.

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