Mussels with Saffron & Leeks

Mussels with Saffron & Leeks

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From the EatingWell Kitchen

Mussels are an excellent fast, healthy dinner. Look for them on ice in mesh bags at your fish counter; the individual mollusks should be mostly closed, or they should close when tapped. The only other thing you need with this aromatic dinner? A couple of crunchy rolls that just might happen to fall into the sauce.

Ingredients 4 servings

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Original recipe yields 4 servings
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  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced and washed
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup bottled clam juice
  • ½ teaspoon saffron, (see Ingredient note)
  • 3 pounds mussels, cleaned (see Tip)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley


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  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, leeks, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion and leeks are softened and just starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add wine, clam juice and saffron, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in mussels. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and steam until all the mussels have opened, 4 to 5 minutes. (Discard any unopened mussels.) Stir in parsley.
  • Ingredient Note: Literally the dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Over 75,000 flowers are required for each pound of saffron. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. It's used sparingly to add golden yellow color and flavor to a wide variety of Middle Eastern, African and European-inspired foods. Find it in the specialty-herb section of large supermarkets, gourmet-food shops and Wrapped in foil and placed in a container with a tight-fitting lid, it will keep in a cool, dry place for several years. Tip: To clean mussels, scrub them with a stiff brush under cold running water. Scrape off any barnacles using the shell of another mussel. Just before cooking, pull off the fuzzy “beard” from each one (some mussels may not have a beard). Discard any mussels with broken shells or any that do not close when tapped.

Nutrition information

  • Per serving: 358 calories; 12 g fat(2 g sat); 2 g fiber; 22 g carbohydrates; 29 g protein; 128 mcg folate; 64 mg cholesterol; 4 g sugars; 1,723 IU vitamin A; 33 mg vitamin C; 97 mg calcium; 9 mg iron; 600 mg sodium; 560 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (55% daily value), Iron (50% dv), Vitamin A (34% dv), Folate (32% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 4 lean meat

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