Olympia – Jan/Feb 2018
Seaside – Jan/Feb/March 2018

Saffron and Tomato Steamed Mussels Recipe

Ft Meyers Sweet Melissa's musselsOn a recent trip to Sanibel Island (just across from Ft. Meyers, Florida), Editor Anne Weaver and I enjoyed some of the most incredible mussels we’ve ever eaten at Sweet Melissa’s Cafe. Owner and Executive Chef Melissa Talmage trained at Manhattan’s French Culinary Institute and earned her stripes at some of the most respected restaurants in the United States including Union Cafe in New York City, and, in New Orleans, both Commander’s Palace and John Besh’s Augus. And her impressive resume dn experience manifest in fresh, deeply flavored dishes like these Saffron and Tomato Steamed Mussels. She serves them with a spicy Cucumber Relish that will make heat-lovers swoon.

Recipe courtesy Sweet Melissa’s Café, Sanibel, Florida

½ lb Prince Edward Island Mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1 T Shallots, diced

1t Garlic, chopped

1 T Tomato, chopped

2 T Chorizo, diced

1 T Fennel, Diced

¼ cup Tomato Water

2 T Saffron Wine

1t lemon Juice

1 T Blended Oil

1 T Unsalted Butter

Salt and Pepper to Taste


In a large sauté pan over high heat the butter and oil, add the shallots, garlic, fennel and chorizo and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomato, saffron wine, tomato water and lemon juice.  Add the mussels and cover the sauté pan with another sauté pan to steam the mussels. Once they are all open add salt and pepper.

House made Cucumber Relish

1 t Red Pepper Flakes

1 Cup White Balsamic vinegar

½ Cup Sugar

1 Cup Water

2 English Cucumbers, sliced thinly on a mandolin

4 Whole Shallots, sliced thinly on a mandolin

Place the shallots and cucumbers in a large bowl. In a sauce pan, heat the remaining ingredients; once it has come to a boil pour it over the shallots and cucumber. Let them sit out at room temperature until they have cooled completely.



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Bobbie Hasselbring

RFT founder and the website's former editor-in-chief, Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. She's been an award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook.