Food & Wine Pairing Recipe of the Week – NZ Greenshell Mussels and Pesto

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This dish is not only delicious, but also very affordable, with NZ Greenshell Mussels now available in most supermarkets and often at very reasonable prices! And the combination of garlic, pesto, bacon and feta is always a winner in our books! Thank you to NZ Nurtured Seafood for another great recipe!

Bald Hills Wine and Food Match - Pinot Gris


  • 24 Live NZ Greenshell™ Mussels (debearded and cleaned)
  • 150mls Olive oil
  • 1 large Garlic Clove – minced
  • 1 Onion – roughly chopped
  • 3 Ripe Roma tomatoes – chopped (possible substitute would be tinned Roma tomatoes)
  • 250mls White wine
  • 1 Tbsp Basil Pesto
  • 3 rashers Streaky Bacon (rind removed)
  • 150gms Feta (cows feta crumbly salad style)
  • 1 Baguette (French Stick)
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh basil – rough chopped (saving a small amount for garnish)
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Italian Parsley –  rough chopped (saving a small amount for garnish)
  • Flaky Sea Salt to taste
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper


Portion the baguette & rub with the garlic & then brush with olive oil. Lightly toast & keep warm to serve with the mussels.

In a heavy based sauce pan sauté rough chopped bacon in the olive oil till crispy then sauté onions & garlic in the bacon oil till soft & transparent.

Add ½ the wine & tomatoes, allowing sauce to come up to the boil, and then simmer for approx 8-10min to reduce the sauce. To finish the sauce, season to taste & stir in pesto, remove the sauce from the pot & store in a suitable container

Wash & reuse the heavy based sauce pan, place on the heat with a lid till very hot, place the mussels into the pot with the remaining wine & return the lid allowing the mussels to stem open (discard any unopened mussels).

Return the tomato sauce to the sauce pan with the mussels, allowing the sauce to come back up to boil, correct the seasoning & just before serving add the fresh herbs.

This alternative cooking method for the mussels uses a BBQ to add a smoky BBQ flavour

Replace step 4 above with instructions below:

Have the mussels ready in a medium to large stainless steel pot (with metal handles as well) or similar size stainless steel mixing bowl.

Pre-heat the BBQ flat hot plate by setting to high heat, cook the bacon (cut into long strips) with a small amount of olive oil till crispy, then gather into a pile in the middle of the hot plate. Pile all the fresh mussels on top of the bacon & moving very quickly pour the remaining white wine over the mussels & being very careful of the steam cover the mussels with the pot or bowl allowing to stem open the mussels (this may take approx. 2-5 minutes). Carefully remove the bowl & place both the mussels & the bacon back into the warm tomato sauce pot (discard any unopened mussels).

Portion the mussels out into wide pasta bowls & then divide the sauce between all of the bowls, next crumble the feta over the mussels & garnish with the remaining herbs, finish with warm baguette & serve while hot.


Wine Pairing – Bald Hills Pigeon Rocks Central Otago Pinot Gris 2010

Butter toffee tones in this wine make it the most delicious match for this dish. Mussels are a very ‘meaty’ seafood, and the crisp finish from this wine make for a great pairing. The wine also brings out the fresh flavours in the Basil Pesto making for quite the party in your palate.