Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mussels in White Wine

PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels seem to be a bit harder to find in Chicago, so when I saw them at Isaacson & Stein I didn't think twice and bought a pound and a half. Mussels are so quick and easy to make, and I knew I wanted to do a basic white wine recipe so I consulted my good friend Ina when I got home. I found this great, basic recipe for white wine broth and I cut it in half (and changed just a couple things) since I had 1 1/2 pounds of mussels.

3 pounds cultivated mussels
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon good saffron threads
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup good white wine
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

If they're dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Remove the "beard" from each with your fingers. Discard any mussels whose shells aren't tightly shut. (If any of the mussels are a tiny bit open, give them a good tap against the countertop and if they're still alive they will close. If they don't close they're dead, so toss them.)

In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent.

Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open). With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don't burn on the bottom.

Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot.

How easy is that? All the work is in the prep for the broth, the actual cooking of the mussels couldn't be easier. You can change up the broth however you like - onions instead of shallots, no saffron if you don't like it, add chorizo slices or a little cream to the broth to really give it a different flavor, and you can change up the fresh herbs too - tarragon is a good addition. Serve with crusty bread for dipping. Fries wouldn't hurt, either.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kat - It's Leslie - This "Barefoot" episode was on yesterday (I might DVR them some times). The broth looks delish. Best place I've ever had mussels in white wine sauce though - Fore Street in Portland, ME - to...die...for!