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.
- 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
- 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.