tomato basil mussels

We tend to eat quite a few mussels in the Kootenay Spice kitchen. As many of you may know, we also go through quite a bit of garlic, basil and tomatoes. It should be no surprise then, that these flavours are one of our favourite ways to prepare mussels!

We actually use our basic bruschetta topping recipe, which is awesome for making traditional, toasted bread bruschetta. In fact, there is often quite a bit of mixture left over, so you may want to consider having a few rounds of toast and some grated mozza and parmessan on hand…

We will likely come back to this bruschetta-like topping in future recipe blog posts, as it is a simple yet very flavourful blend.

If you do not have any Rosemary Balsamic Drizzle on hand, reduced or regular balsamic vinegar will work too.


We also generally use fresh mussels, however our local grocer was out of stock when we were preparing this blog post, so frozen will have to do!

For this recipe you will need:


4 small-medium tomatoes (romas work best)
3-4 basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Rosemary Balsamic Drizzle
pinch of salt
1 pound mussels, fresh or frozen

Finely chop the tomatoes into 1/4 – 1/2” pieces. Set aside in a bowl lined with paper towel to absorb some of the moisture.


Finely chop the basil and garlic.

Stir the basil, garlic, olive oil, balsamic and salt into the diced tomatoes. Cover and refrigerate at least one, up to four hours.


If you are using fresh mussels, fill a large, deep skillet with a 1/2” of water and bring to a boil. Gently place the mussels in the water, cover and let steam for four minutes.

If you are using frozen mussels, do not use any water. Heat the empty pan over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Quickly empty the mussels into the pan and cover immediately. Let steam for four minutes.


Once the mussels have been cooked, remove from heat. Carefully remove the halves of shells that do not have a mussel attached. If some have fallen out of their shells in cooking, simply place them in an empty shell half.


Top each mussel with about 1 tablespoon of the bruschetta mixture. The mussel shells double as a built in spoon!

Serve immediately & enjoy!


Caesar Salad

At Kootenay Spice we like to infuse anything and everything we can with garlic. Naturally, our Caesar salad is no different!

We start with making a double batch of our garlic aioli. If you are short on time (or energy), real mayonnaise with a clove or two of minced garlic mixed in will work in a pinch. Trust us though, if you have the time it is well worth it to use garlic aioli as a base for your Caesar salad dressing.

We also make our own bread crumbs for our Caesar salad. We like to make a small loaf of bread out of Italian seasoned pizza dough and chop it into bite-size pieces. We then broil them in the oven for 10-20 minutes and let them continue to dry on the counter for an hour or two.

If you missed it above, here is a link to our garlic aioli recipe.


For Kootenay Spice Caesar Salad (serves 3-4) you will need the following:

for the dressing:

DSC030062 teaspoons fish sauce
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 teaspoon hot mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 cup homemade aioli
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
pinch of salt


In a non-metallic bowl, blend the dressing ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

for the salad:

prepared, chilled dressing
1 head romaine lettuce (or 2 bunches romaine hearts)
1 cup seasoned croutons
pinch of pepper
1/2 fresh lemon, thinly sliced

Chop the lettuce into bite-size pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Add the croutons and mix well.


Cover the lettuce & croutons with dollops of the dressing, gently tossing every now and again until the lettuce is evenly coated.


Portion the dressed salad into salad bowls, sprinkle with pepper and serve with sliced lemons. In these photos, we have added strips of marinated chicken breast. Shrimp, scallops and beef also make great toppings!