Mussels With Summer Tomato And Basil

In honor of Belgian Restaurant Week, which kicks off July 15, one of DC's top chefs representing the country's cuisine offers up this perfect-for-summer mussel recipe.

Chef Robert Wiedmaier combines fresh tomatoes, basil and a hint of Espelette pepper to flavor these bivalves. Head to one of his five Belgian-inspired eateries — Marcel's, Brasserie Beck, Mussel Bar, Brabo and Brabo Tasting Room — to toast Belgian Restaurant Week.

Mussels with Summer Tomato, Garlic, Capers and Basil
recipe courtesy of chef Robert Wiedmaier

serves one

1 pound PEI mussels, cleaned, scrubbed and de-bearded (leave in shell)
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 whole garlic bulb
1/2 cup plum tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons capers
2 shallots, sliced
2 tablespoons small leaf basil, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 teaspoon Espelette pepper
1 tablesppon olive oil
Fresh baguette

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Take one whole bulb of garlic, wrap in foil and cook in the preheated oven until soft, about one hour.

Meanwhile, in a pot or heavy pan, cook the shallots and chopped garlic in olive oil over medium high heat. Add mussels, tomatoes, white wine, capers, pepper and basil. Cover with a lid and cook until the mussels open up.

Remove the garlic from oven, cut in half and rub on a piece of grilled or toasted baguette.

Cooked mussels can be eaten right from the pot or pan or transferred to a wide rim soup bowl. Use the baguette to soak up the mussel broth.