Dirty Martini Mussels

Mussels are especially delicious with a martini sauce. This dish can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish with pasta.


  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, packed
  • 3/4 cup pitted green olives or olives with pimentos, plus 3 tablespoons olive brine
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, pasted or grated
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup good-quality gin
  • 1/4 cup dry vermouth
  • 3 pounds medium mussels (about 4 dozen), scrubbed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Warm, crusty bread, torn into chunks, for mopping


Using a food processor, finely chop the parsley, olives, garlic and lemon zest. Pour in 4 tablespoons EVOO and the lemon juice and process into a pesto.

In a large pot or deep skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the pesto. Add the gin and vermouth and cook until reduced, about 1 minute. Add the mussels; cover and steam until opened, 6-8 minutes; discard any unopened shells.

Add the butter to the mussels and shake the pan to melt it into the sauce. Serve with the bread for mopping.

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