Mussel and Black Pepper Soup

This soup goes very well with grilled garlic bread.

There. I said it. I know I’m pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not, especially when it comes to food blogs, but hey, I’m a rebel. If you’re going to have a tomato based soup with loads of black pepper, I say tradition be damned…have a slice of garlic bread with this dish! It’s your right as an American!

I’m in a weird mood today, as one might be able to deduce. I’m not sure where my mood is coming from, but my guess is hormonal fluctuation. And what better way to celebrate hormonal fluctuation than with a bowl of hot black pepper soup!

As a word of warning, the soup did pass the Shelly test. Shelly is the resident picky eater in our house, and to get her to say she likes a dish is a bit of a coup. She did comment on the soups spiciness, so if you’re prone to dislike spicy dishes, avoid this one.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, yellow, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 10oz bottle of clam juice
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 2 cups water
  • The rind from a slice of Parmesan cheese (or other similar Italian hard cheese)
  • 1 lb. miniature white potatoes, sliced
  • 1 1/2 lb mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • Parsley, chopped

Place a stock pot or Dutch Oven over medium high heat. Add the oil and allow to come to temperature. Saute the onions and garlic, adding a pinch of salt. Cook until onions start to become translucent, about seven minutes.

Add the tomato paste and allow to caramelize in the oil, taking about another 4-5 minutes. Stir well into the onions. Add the red pepper and black pepper and mix into the onions. Add the wine, tomatoes, and clam juice. Lower the heat to medium and add the seafood stock and water. Bring to a simmer and add the rind and potatoes. Cook for 20 minutes.

Finally, add the cleaned mussels to the soup and cook until the mussels open, about 10 minutes. Ladle into serving bowls and top with parsley.

Serves 4-6