Mussels with Salt Water Pasta


1 x 500 g packet spaghetti
2 x 400 g tins whole tomatoes
2 cups white wine
1 kg mussels, cleaned and debearded (I find the smaller ones are sweeter)
2 cloves garlic
fennel fronds
2–3 lemons
dried wakame seaweed, crushed

Large pot

Feeds 4


1: Light your fire and let it burn down until you obtain a medium heat. If you are near the sea, fill a large pot with sea water (strained through a muslin cloth). Otherwise add some salt to tap water. Bring to the boil over the fire with a tripod, then add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain (reserving at least 1 cup of pasta water for later) and set the spaghetti aside on a plate or in a colander.

2: Crush the tomatoes with your hands into the same pot, add the wine and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Add the mussels and garlic and cook until the mussels open up, discarding any that don’t open. Return the pasta to the pot and toss until it is finely coated in the tomato sauce – you want some liquid with this dish so if you need to add more salt water do so. 

3: Serve the pasta topped with fennel fronds, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkling of crushed wakame.