Tomato and chorizo mussels

Recipe: Mussels with tomato and chorizo

We often hear people say they are scared to cook seafood, and have no idea how to cook mussels! Which is why we invited Rie from Rie’s Kitchen to teach us all how to cook mussels in the Cooking Demonstration tent at the festival. Each year, Rie shows us how cook some of her favourite mussel recipes, as well as tips on how to de-beard mussels and check for dead mussels.

Rie has been volunteering her time as mussel chef for nearly ten years now, and we love having her. If you get a chance to visit the cooking demonstrations, we promise you will come away with plenty of new recipes for cooking delicious mussels.

Cooking demonstrations run every hour between 10am – 4pm. They are extremely popular, and seats do get snapped up quickly, so be sure to get there early, and stay until the end to sample the goods!

If you want to try out mussels at home, Rie has shared one of her favourite mussel recipes below: Mussels with tomato and chorizo. This recipe also features along with many others in the Mussel Festival cookbook, which you can purchase from the merchandise tent on festival day.


  • 2 doz fresh mussels (approx. 700g)
  • 6 button mushrooms sliced
  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 150 g speck/pancetta cut into batons
  • 1 chorizo finely diced
  • 750 ml passata/sugo
  • Parsley – chopped as garnish
  • pasta to serve


  • Place mussels in a large bowl of tap water and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes. This allows the mussels to open and release some of the salt water and grit inside their shells.
  • Heat a large fry pan. Strain mussels and place in the hot pan. Cover with a lid. When the pan is foaming, (like a bad Cappuccino) the mussels will have opened. Using tongs, remove opened mussels and place in a bowl. See note below on how to open the closed mussels. When cool enough to handle, de-beard the mussels. Strain the liquid in the pan – this can be kept and used as stock for Risotto’s, soups, Paella etc.
  • In a large saucepan, gently fry the speck and chorizo until starting to brown. Add the mushrooms and onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the passata and stir well.
  • Meanwhile cook your pasta.
  • Once pasta is cooked, return mussels to the sauce and stir through to warm them.
  • Serve on a bed of pasta, garnished with parsley.

Squeeze the sides of the mussel. The top will open slightly and you will be able to get the point of a knife into the shell. Wiggle the knife down, until you feel the join of the mussel. Push through and the mussel will open. Be CAREFUL, the mussel is likely to be full of hot liquid.

* A little care is needed before cooking to make sure that only mussels in a fresh condition are cooked. Rinse mussels before cooking and discard any with a broken shell and those that do not close when sharply tapped. Not all mussels will open during cooking; you do not have to discard these. Just open with a knife after cooking.