2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, cut into julienne strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 fresh thyme sprig
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 1/2 cups bottled clam juice or fish stock
1 cup good-quality tomato juice
3 lb small mussels in the shell
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add half of the onions, salt and pepper and sauté, stirring briskly, until lightly golden, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer. Then add the white wine and bring to a boil. Boil until reduced by half, 7-8 minutes. Add the thyme, saffron, clam juice or fish stock and tomato juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Strain through a sieve into a bowl and set aside.
Scrub the mussels under cool running water and pull out and discard their beards. Discard any mussels that do not close to the touch.
Place 2 large, wide sauté pans over high heat (or work in batches if only 1 pan is available). Add half of the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to each pan. When hot, add half of the remaining onions to each pan and sauté briefly, stirring occasionally, until they just begin to color, about 4 minutes. Add half of the mussels to each pan, spreading them out in a single layer, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 1-2 minutes. Add half of the strained broth to each pan and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until all the mussels open, 3-5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Add half of the parsley to each pan. Toss to mix and then spoon the mussels into warmed shallow soup bowls. Divide the broth evenly among the bowls and serve immediately.
Active Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Yield: 4 Servings