I really wasn't a fan of mussels until I took a term abroad trip to France during high school. My classmate and I ate dinner with our host family each night and this meal consisted of whatever our host mom decided to cook that day. One night she came to the table with a huge bowl of mussels. I had never tried them before, but since it's sort of frowned upon to turn down the main course, I tentatively placed a few mussels on my plate and tested it out. And I liked it.
Ever since, I tend to go through stages where I crave nothing but a substantial serving of mussels. I don't know why, but I roll with it. Recently I got that craving again. Unfortunately, things never seemed to work out and I would always miss out on those mussels.
After a few weeks of this, it finally dawned on me that I should just make a big ol' pot of mussels myself. Why was I waiting to go to a restaurant for this deliciousness? So let's do it.
Mussels in a White Wine Sauce
slightly adapted from Ina Garten's recipe
yields 3-4 servings
- 2 pounds cultivated mussels
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1 - 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, drained and chopped even more (4 ounces)
- pinch of turmeric
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup good white wine
- dash of habanero sauce
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- spritz of lemon juice
Clean the Mussels
1) In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 quarts of water with the flour.
2) Place the mussels in a large bowl and cover them with the water/flour mixture.
3) Soak the mussels for ~30 minutes and then drain the water away.
4) With your fingers, remove the mussel beards.
5) Scrub the mussels with a brush under running water to remove any extra dirt.
6) Throw away any mussels whose shells are not tightly shut.
Make the Mussels
1) In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat.
2) Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
3) Pour in the tomatoes, turmeric, thyme, wine, habanero sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil.
4) Add the mussels and stir well. Cover the pot and cook the mussels for 8-10 minutes over medium heat until all the mussels are opened. If there are unopened mussels, discard them.
5) Add a spritz of lemon juice and cover the pot. Give the pot a shake or two to ensure the mussels won't burn on the bottom.
6) Pour the mussels into a large bowl and serve hot.
If I don't count the amount of time required to clean these mussels, this is definitely one of the quickest recipes I've ever made. The mussels were tender and succulent. They made for a light meal in the midst of this soup and stew season. Make sure you also toast up a loaf of sourdough bread and use it to soak up some of the sauce. It really is an excellent idea, if I do say so myself.