- 4 slices hearty sourdough boule, toasted
- 6 cloves garlic; 4 cloves grated, 2 cloves halved lengthwise
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature, more for the bread
- Flaky sea salt
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley, more for garnish
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped shallot
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine such as Sauvignon blanc or non-oaky Chardonnay
- 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes, preferably multicolor
- 4 lb mussels, cleaned and debearded
- Fresno or other red chile pepper rings, for garnish, optional
- Lemon wedges for serving
- Do not eat any of the mussels that do not open during cooking. The only place they belong is in the trash.
After purchasing mussels, don’t store them in sealed bags or containers because they may suffocate. Instead, refrigerate them in a bowl, loosely covered with damp paper towels, until ready to clean and cook. Discard any mussels with cracked shells. It’s best to use mussels the same day you buy them, but if you must shop ahead, know that they’ll last for up to two days refrigerated as directed.
Clean the mussels just before cooking by covering them in lightly salted water for about 15 minutes. Salt helps the mussels expel any sand or debris, so it won’t end up in your broth. Next, scrub the shells with a stiff-bristled brush and remove the fibrous threads known as “the beard.” Feel along the shell for long strands, grasp between your fingers, and pull out and up along the shell’s hinge. If the beard is too slippery, use a paper towel to grab them. Cook the mussels immediately because debearding kills them. If you can’t remove the beards, don’t worry, they are edible.
For best cooking results, use a pot large enough to contain all the mussels without crowding -- you need plenty of room for shaking and stirring the pot. An 8-qt or larger Dutch oven is perfect.
Rub the entire surface of each toasted bread slice with one of the halved garlic cloves. Very lightly butter the surface of the bread. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and parsley. Set aside.
In a large, deep pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers. Add the shallot, 1 tsp salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring constantly until the shallot is soft, translucent, and just beginning to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 4 cloves grated garlic; cook, stirring constantly until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the mussels and stir until combined. Cover tightly and steam, shaking and stirring the pot once or twice until the mussels open, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to 4 deep bowls, discarding any that do not open.
Add the remaining 2 Tbsp butter and the remaining ¼ cup parsley to the pot of broth. Stir continuously until the butter melts. Spoon the broth evenly over the mussels, leaving behind any grit at the bottom of the pot. Garnish each serving bowl with more parsley, the chile pepper rings, if using, and serve with the lemon wedges and the garlic toast.