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Saffron adds intrigue to this flavorful, aromatic California seaside classic, served with roasted garlic and herbs on rustic bread. Pair with California Chardonnay or Pinot Gris.

mussels in broth


  • For the roasted garlic:
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs of fresh sage
  • 4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 heads garlic
  • 2 lemons, halved lengthwise
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 8 slices fresh, rustic-style (heavy crust) bread
  • For the mussels:
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups (350 ml) dry California white wine
  • 15 fresh basil leaves
  • pinch saffron
  • 1 pound (450 g) mussels

Serves 4



  • For roasted garlic:
  • Preheat oven to 375 F. (190 C.)
  • In a single layer, place the rosemary and sage in a small shallow baking dish.
  • Drizzle with two tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil.
  • Using a sharp knife, slice off the top of the garlic heads just enough to expose the cloves beneath.
  • Place the garlic heads, cut-side down, on top of the rosemary and sage.
  • Set the lemon halves, cut-side up, next to the garlic.
  • Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
  • Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
  • Roast in the oven for thirty minutes, or until the garlic is soft when pressed with the back of a spoon.
  • When cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft garlic cloves from skins. Spread desired amount of garlic on each bread slice. Just before serving, top each with a crispy sprig of roasted rosemary or sage.
  • For the mussels:
  • In a saucepan large enough to hold all of the mussels, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the green onions and garlic.
  • Sauté until garlic is light golden brown.
  • Add the wine and saffron.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high, then bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid by one third.
  • Add the basil and mussels.
  • Cover and cook until mussels have opened (about 4 minutes). Discard any mussels that do not open.
  • To serve, divide the mussels and broth among four serving bowls.
  • Drizzle each with desired amount of roasted lemon juice.
  • Squeeze a little roasted lemon juice over each bowl.
  • Serve with two slices of the herb-topped garlic bread.

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