Sauteed mussels with Sofrito sauce

December 19, 2008 5:03:09 PM PST
Bring a little taste of Spain into your own kitchen! Daniel Olivella, the chef from B44 Restaurant in San Francisco, shares a fast and flavorful recipe you can make tonight. Plus, you can freeze some for another time.

Sofrito Sauce
Yield: 2 cups

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil from Spain
1 medium-sized yellow onion, minced
2 (16-ounce) cans of peeled whole tomatoes (5 to 6 tomatoes total), strained (juice reserved), roughly chopped
3 pinches of salt

Heat olive oil in a deep sauce or sauté pan over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and reduce the heat to low.

Sauté the onion slowly, stirring often, especially at the end. The onions will turn translucent, then golden.

This should take about 30 minutes. The trick is to get the color to just begin to turn without burning; it must not be rushed.

When the onions are done, add in the tomatoes. Gently simmer, uncovered, for 60 to 75 minutes, gradually adding in the conserved juice as the liquid evaporates out. The sofregit should be slightly runny.

Mussels sautéed with sofrito
Musclos amb sofregit

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil from Spain
1 oz.Pancetta
1 oz chopped Garlic
1 lbs.Mussels
1/4 cup Sofrito
2 Tbs White wine
Tarragon the leaves of one sprig
1 oz Green peas

Set a large sauté a 12 inch pan on the heat add the oil, when hot at least 1 minute add the pancetta, stir, after 45 seconds add the garlic and mussels together stir again after 45-60 seconds add the sofrito. Make sure all the mussels get wet with it, after 1 to 1 ½ minutes add the wine, tarragon and green peas, stir, reduce heat and cover for 1 minute, uncover for another minute and the mussels are ready, serve in a large bowl.

B44 Restaurant
44 Beldon Place
San Francisco, CA 94102
415-986-6287
Website: www.b44sf.com

Barlata
4901 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, Ca 94609
Website: www.barlata.com

About Chef Daniel Olivella:
He first fell in love with the cuisine of his native Catalonia as a young boy in Vilafranca del Penedés, a small city on the outskirts of Barcelona, and capital of the famous Penedés wine region. When he left for the United States at age 17, he took that passion with him, and was warmly welcomed behind the stoves at "La Paella," his uncle's pioneering Spanish restaurant in Chicago.

The heat of the kitchen, however, was always tempered by the cool notes of the saxophone. When Daniel wasn't working the line at "La Paella" he was studying Jazz at the Chicago Music Conservatory and playing the sax in some of that city's hottest clubs. As time passed, Daniel's focus turned away from music and more and more toward the culinary as he began to explore his passion for his native cuisine.

Ready to test his luck in the culinary mecca of the Bay Area, at the age of 28, he said goodbye to the Windy City and headed west. It is here, in San Francisco, that Chef Daniel Olivella, came into his own.

Stops at eateries like Zuni Café, Delfina, Café Bastille, Thirsty Bear and Zazie, prepared him for the opening of his own restaurant, B44 Catalan Bistro, located on trendy Belden Place in San Francisco's financial district.

B44 opened in 1999 to rave revues from local food critics and has been bestowed various honors over the years including San Francisco's Rising star Chef of The Year and twice USA Today's Top 20 Dishes in America. Diners still crowd this downtown bistro to experience a little taste of Catalonia through Olivella's dishes which are always prepared with big heart.


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