For an elegant summer appetizer, try these Galician Style Mussels in white wine and tomato sauce. These mussels are quick and easy to prepare. And, they are the perfect recipe to pair with a crisp Spanish white wine, like an Albariño.
DISCLOSURE: We received samples of the Albariño wine mentioned below. As always, all opinions are our own.
Where Is Galicia?
We were first turned on to Galicia because of wine.
We love how exploring new wines can open up new regions!
This month’s Wine Pairing Weekend group was tasked to take a dive into “crisp white wines from Spain”, and we were graciously sent a sample of Albariño wine to try.
Albariño wine is produced in the northwestern corner of Spain, just north of Portugal. This region is known as Galicia (pronounced “Galithia” in Spanish).
Galicia is bordered on two sides by water, it is a beautiful region with lots of beaches. And, it is well known for its seafood!
In particular, it is known for it’s shellfish and crustaceans.
Our Galician Style Mussels In White Wine Recipe
This recipe for Galician style mussels in white wine is an easy recipe to prepare and gives you a light sauce that is the perfect complement to your mussels.
This simple sauce is made of onions, garlic, tomato, and a little saffron (if you have some on hand).
Then a little water (or fish stock) and wine fill out the flavors, and give you moisture to steam your mussels.
Whether you use a touch of the wine you are pairing with your mussels, like Albariño, or add another similar wine, like a Sauvignon Blanc, is up to you.
The flavor of the sauce is slight enough that it doesn’t overpower the mussels. It just adds a nice accent to the flavors of the mussels.
And, it’s perfect for dipping the crusty bread you serve with your mussels into!
How To Choose Mussels
Mussels, like lobster, are sold and cooked live because they go rancid very quickly after they die. They can live out of water for a few days, but need to be kept cold.
When choosing mussels, be sure your market is keeping them over ice. The shells should be shiny and wet. A dry and dull shell could mean you have a dead mussel on your hands.
While best if prepared the day you buy them, live mussels can be kept in your refrigerator sitting on a bowl of ice for a couple of days.
How To Clean Mussels
One important thing to note about preparing mussels is cleaning them.
There are a few simple steps to cleaning mussels:
- Clean off any outer debris
- Make sure they are closed
Clean off any outer debris: Place your mussels in a bowl in the sink. Run them under cold water, and use a scrub brush as needed to clean off any debris on the shell.
De-beard: Mussels often have what looks like a clump of hairs poking out of the shell, called a “beard”. To de-beard the mussels, grab the beard firmly and pull it toward the hinge side of the shell until it pops out.
Make sure they are closed: Firmly closed mussels is another check that your mussels are alive and good for cooking. If you have any that are slightly open, tap them on something hard (like the side of your sink). If they are alive, they should close right up. If they don’t close, then discard them.
Wine Pairing for Mussels
It is no wonder that a wine produced in a region that is known for its shellfish would go wonderfully with mussels.
Albariño wine is one of the most popoular wines in Galicia. The grape varietal is grown mainly in the “rias baixas” or the “lower bays” coastal region. (In Portugal the Albariño grape is known as Alvarinho.)
Albariño is known for being a crisp and light wine with a high acidity and that is exactly what we found with the Valminor Albariño that we were sent.
The wine was pleasantly effervescent. It has a slight tartness on the front end and finished bright and crisp.
Pairing the wine with our Galician style mussels was absolutely perfect!
The flavor of the mussels brought out a smooth and almost buttery texture and richness in the wine as it cleansed the palate and invited us in for another taste of seafood!
If you can’t get your hands on an Albariño, a good quality Sauvignon Blanc is similar in profile and would also make a great pairing.
Galician Style Mussels In White Wine And An Albariño Wine Pairing
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- Pinch saffron (optional)
- 1 tsp flour
- ½ c water (or fish stock)
- ¼ c dry wine (Albariño or Sauvignon Blanc)
- 2 lbs mussels
- Sliced baguette (to serve)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet with a lid (or saucepan) over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions have softened, 3 minute.
- Add the tomato and saffron (if using), sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the flour and mix in until moistened.
- Add the water (or fish stock), wine and mussels. Cover and steam the mussels for 5-8 minutes, until they have opened.
- Once the mussels open, remove them from the saucepan and place them onto a serving platter (to keep them from over-cooking). Pour the sauce from the pan over the mussels on the serving platter.
- Serve the mussels with the sauce, a sliced baguette and some Albariño wine.
Curious for more crisp wines form Spain and Portugal? Check out some of these great wines and parings!
- Lori of Dracaena Wines is Celebrating International Albariño Day with #WinePW.
- David from Cooking Chat offers up Rias Baixas Albariño with Summer Party Nibbles.
- Sarah of Curious Cuisiniere puts together Galician Style Mussels In White Wine And An Albariño WinePairing.
- Jill of L’Occasion says What We’re Drinking Now: Chill White Wine from Spain andPortugal.
- Jeff of FoodWineClick! writes Tapas and Albariño: A Winning Combination.
- Lauren of The Swirling Dervish features Wines from Cariñena, Spain: Perfect for Summer Sipping.
- Cindy of Grape Experiences is Summer Sipping: Pazo Pondal Albariño 2017.
- Rupal of Syrah Queen lists Top White Wines from the Douro Valley.
- Michelle of Rockin Red Blog tells us to Beat the Summer Heat with Rias Baixas Albariño.
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm shares Albariño and Seafood Stew: the Perfect Pairing.
- Jane of Always Ravenous serves Grilled Clams with Spanish Albariño.
- Nicole of Somm’s Table is Cooking to the Wine: Adegas Gran Vinum Nessa Albariño RiasBaixas and an Umami-packed Twist on Fish and Chips.
- Susannah of avvinare offers Albariño paired with Shrimp Paella – A Summer Delight.
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator is having an Albariño Adventure on Anglesey.
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla pairs California Central Coast Albariños with Spanish Bites.