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August 2, 2021

Mussels in a fragrant tomato sauce!

Posted on April 9, 2014 by in rsg, seafood

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Mussels, often referred to as the “poor man’s shellfish”, because they are relatively cheap and plentiful! Prepared properly it can be a meal for royalty let alone a poor man!

Mussels are staples in my West Coast Paella or Seafood potjies, but my son’s absolute favorite is mussels in a creamy, garlic sauce or soup. Even as a little boy, he never fell for the fish fingers or chicken nuggets, but ordered this in restaurants often!


All you need for a delicious, quick midweek meal or maybe a starter to a meal with friends, is bowl of mussels in a fragrant tomato sauce, a freshly baked ciabatta and voila……. a table full of happy quests licking their bowls and fingers, probably asking for seconds! For a fragrant tomato sauce, you have to look no further. I was lucky enough to get hold of chef Michael Broughton’s recipe.


After watching the first episode of Seasons at Terroir last week, I was hooked on this refreshing new series! Seasons at Terroir is a documentary style TV series about this award-winning restaurant on the Stellenbosch wine route. This six-part series sets out to show what it takes to run a high-powered restaurant kitchen in an increasingly competitive arena.


In Michael’s own words: “After watching the series, I hope viewers will have a better understanding of what cooking in a modern-day, professional kitchen is all about. For one, it is not nearly as glamorous as it is often depicted in the media. In fact, it is tough, demanding and relentless. If someone is really committed to following a career as a chef, including the long, often anti-social hours, it is an exciting and rewarding choice. It has certainly been rewarding to be part of the growing gourmet culture in Stellenbosch – I can’t think of a better place to experience great food and wine than on a wine farm like Kleine Zalze, less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town!”


Michael honed his skills as Head Chef at the Mount Grace Country House and Spa in Magaliesberg before opening Terroir. Prior to this, he was chef-patron of the highly successful Broughton’s in Gauteng, where he was the recipient of two Eat Out Top 10 awards and a string of other accolades.
I asked Michael for a short, delicious recipe to share with our listeners on RSG  and he said his “most famous” tomato sauce is perfect on pasta. We do not eat pasta at the moment so I used it as a base for my delicious mussels.



Michael Broughton

4 x 440g tins whole peeled tomatoes
30g butter
45ml Olive oil
1 1/2  finely chopped onion
8 peeled garlic cloves whole
30g tomato paste
20 ml sugar
10 ml  salt
20 Basil leaves
1L water
A generous pinch freshly ground black pepper

1 kg black mussels in shell

Sweat onions and garlic in butter and oil, cook (45min) with lid on until very soft and sweet.
Turn up the heat to high and boil away the liquid until it begins to fry (don’t colour) add the tomato paste and cook stirring for 5-6 min (to cool off the acidity) then add the rest of ingredients (except the basil) and blitz until slightly chunky or smoother if you like then simmer slowly for 2 ½ hours over a low heat adding more water if it dries out too fast. When done remove from heat stir in the basil and a pepper and infuse with the lid on for 20 min then use or keep in the fridge for 2 days or freeze until needed.
I added the mussels 5 minutes before cooking time was done. This gives enough time for the fresh mussels to open. Discard any mussels that do not open. When mussels are cooked, add chopped basil, place lid back on and allow to infure fo r10 minutes before serving. Serve with buttery warm ciabatta!


Tomorrow  morning  just after the 9 o’clock news, I will be  chatting to Michael Broughton and he will be sharing this easy recipe with you!  All I can say is good things in life take time! I will also in weeks to come take you into the kitchens of other bloggers, chefs and interesting South Africans this year. So buckle up, it is going to be an awesome ride. Tune in 100-104FM or listen online here!

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  1. Smoked Snoek and mussel Parcels - July 3, 2014

    […] and mussels – two of the West Coast’s abundant offers. I love cooking mussels  in a Fragrant tomato Sauce, but a typical West Coast paella will not be the same without  fresh mussels. The purists of […]

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