A pairing of simple and pure ingredients, where the acidity of the tomatoes and oranges plays with the aromatic sweetness of saffron. This is more of a sauce than a broth, which allows me to enjoy each bite with more generous serving of tomatoes. This consistency is great to serve as an appetizer.
The technical aspect of this recipe resides in peeling the tomatoes and removing the seeds for a smooth, velvety texture. If you wish to make an express version of this recipe, you can omit this step. However, when time allows, try to make this version and note the difference, mostly in texture.
Saffron has a unique and distinctive flavor. It is most widely known to be an essential ingredient of paella, and marries particularly well with seafood in general. It can also be used to flavor desserts. Because of its strong flavor, only a few threads suffice.
… until the tomatoes are almost puréed.
Add thyme and saffron and let sit to infuse the flavors. Now the sauce is ready for the mussels. Raising the heat to high, and when the sauce starts bubbling, add the mussels at once. Only add the ones that are closed and discard the ones that are open. Cover for a few minutes until all the mussels open under the heat. Now discard the ones that remain closed.