20 large mussels, cleaned and scrubbed 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped 2 fresh sweet basil leaves, cut in chiffonade 1/2 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped 1 pinch crushed red chili pepper 2 tablespoons anisette (or brand name Sambuca) 1 cup fresh tomato sauce 3/4 cup fish stock (or clam juice) 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold salt and fresh ground black pepper
Add the olive oil to a saute pan over medium-high heat. Just before it starts smoking toss in the garlic. Just as it starts to turn golden brown (this will happen in a matter of seconds) add the mussels and toss to combine.
Next, season the pan with salt and pepper along with the red chile pepper. Toss again, then take the pan away from the heat and pour in the Anisette. Place the pan back on the stove and let the Anisette ignite. Be careful here...enjoy the meal and don't burn yourself. Let the alcohol from the liquor burn off then proceed to add the tomato sauce and fish stock.
Cover the pan and cook over medium heat until the mussel shells open, about 2 minutes. Remove the cover and add the basil and parsley, then swirl in the butter. Remove the mussels from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Serve.
We reviewed this recipe for National Anisette Day and LOVED it! I mean LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! The flavor was incredible. One note, the directions don't mention when to add the oregano but it's obvious it should be added with the basil and parsley.