It’s Bloody Mary Time

Quick Dish

Everybody loves mussels throughout the Mediterranean. Here we share a quick recipe inspired by the classic Bloody Mary cocktail.

It’s a long weekend in Malta as the nation celebrates the feast of l-Imnarja. As per the Roman Catholic calendar, Malta celebrates the feast of the martyrdom of St. Peter and St. Paul. It is a time when schools are at the end of the scholastic year and families officially start the summer season. It also a time synonymous with the local farming community as they celebrate their enterprise and efforts.

Video courtesy of Conrad Vassallo

We love mussels here in Malta. Basically who doesn’t love them throughout the Mediterranean? Mussels are a very accessible seafood ingredient and therefore will be included in many restaurant menus all over the Mediterranean. Most of the time, kitchens decide to embrace the beauty of simplicity and steam the mussels with white wine and garlic.

Taking inspiration for the Bloody Mary cocktail, we once decided to prepare the mussels differently including the local summer tomato, our local ‘karfusa’, and a splash of vodka! Therefore here we share a quick mussels recipe which features from time to time on the menu at Maldonado Bistro.

Karfusa‘ is lovage in English. Many people mistaken ‘karfusa‘ for celery but it is actually its close cousin, lovage.

Bloody Mary Mussels

Inspired by the famous tomato-based cocktail, here we have an easy and quick mussels recipe.
Servings 4 people
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins


  • 750 grams Fresh Mussels (de-bearded and cleaned)
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Small Onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, or wild garlic finely chopped
  • 3 stems Lovage finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Vodka
  • 250 ml Tomato Sauce
  • 2 tsp Worchester Sauce
  • Parsley finely chopped
  • Sea Salt to season
  • Black Pepper to season


  • Clean the mussels by removing the beards and scrubbing the outside of the mussel shell. 
  • In a deep pan, sauté the onion and garlic with the olive oil. Once translucent, sauté the lovage for a minute or two. Add the vodka and burn the alcohol. tomato sauce and Worchester sauce.
  • Add the tomato sauce and Worchester sauce and leave to simmer.
  • Add all the mussels and steam away for the next 5 to 10 minutes. Toss the pan from time to time to evenly coat the mussels with the sauce.
  • Once all the mussels have opened, add the parsley, toss and transfer the mussels to a deep platter dish. Discard any mussels which are have still not opened.
    Top the mussels with the remaining tomato sauce in the pan. Garnish with the remaining chopped parsley and some lemon wedges and serve immediately.


Make sure to have some fresh and crusty bread to dip and soak up the tomato sauce. This can be even more important than enjoying the mussels.
Course: Appetizer, Starter
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Cold Starter, meze, mussels, seafood, something to share, tapas
Curated by Maldonado Bistro © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.