March 12 2016

Quick-Pickled Mussels with Seared Cherry Tomatoes

By Worker Bee


Pickling mussels after they’re cooked is a good way to serve them as an appetizer. A large batch can be made the day before and set out at room temperature with toothpicks. Although, when the mussels are served with seared cherry tomatoes, you’ll need a spoon to scoop up all the garlicky, juicy goodness. And a fork will be necessary if you choose to eat the mussels and tomatoes over a bowl of salad greens, which is a fine idea, too.

When mussels are quick-pickled, for an hour or overnight, it gives them a vinegary kick, plus the heat of smoked paprika and red pepper flakes. The more ways you know to prepare and serve mussels, the better, since they’re a food that should regularly show up on your plate. Why? Mussels are nutrient-dense morsels filled with B vitamins, selenium, zinc, magnesium and manganese. You don’t need to eat a ton of mussels, or other shellfish, to get a healthy serving of nutrients. So share this batch of pickled mussels with friends, or cut the recipe in half for a smaller serving.

Servings: 4

Time in the Kitchen: 45 minutes, plus 2 hours to pickle



  • 2 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded (900g)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided (60 ml plus 15 ml)
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cups white vinegar (475 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (5 ml)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (2.5 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (5 ml)
  • 1 pint (12 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved (340 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (15 ml)


In a shallow pot of boiling water, cook the mussels with a lid for 2 to 3 minutes until they open. Drain. Discard any shells that do not open. When the mussels are cool enough to handle, remove them from their shells. Discard the shells and refrigerate the mussels.

Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, 3 minutes. Add the vinegar, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika and salt and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the liquid from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a bowl or jar, pour the liquid over the mussels and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Before serving, set the mussels in their liquid on the counter to come up to room temperature.

Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is very hot and shimmering. Add tomatoes and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring only occasionally, until the tomatoes are blackened in places and begin to collapse.


Stir in garlic and cook only about 30 seconds, before the garlic burns. Season the tomatoes with salt and let cool.

Drain the mussels and toss with the tomatoes. Garnish with parsley.

Mussels 2

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8 thoughts on “Quick-Pickled Mussels with Seared Cherry Tomatoes”

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  1. That looks really tasty. Would it be to vinegary after two days, or must it be consumed asap?

  2. This looks so good. I’m inland, hard to get fresh seafood. Would have to settle for flash frozen. I really like the idea of pickling, how long would they keep in the fridge? Like as if it could.
    Just thinking pickled anything, would be a good lunch box item.

  3. I’m confused. Why are the mussels still in their shells in the photo with their tomatoes. I thought the shells were discarded earlier?

    1. Cleaning and debearding them doesn’t involve removing the shells.

  4. Wow that looks delicious! It would be easy to adapt this recipe for a therapeutic ketogenic diet too! I would just reduce the vinegar and substitute some sautéed greens, a few sundried tomatoes, and serve it with plenty of peppery olive oil.

  5. Yumm! It would be easy to adapt this recipe for a therapeutic ketogenic diet too! I would just reduce the vinegar and substitute some of the tomatoes for sautéed green and serve it with plenty of peppery olive oil.