Thursday, March 29, 2007
The other day, I was in Kroger's grocery store and I simply could not believe it: 2 pounds of fresh mussels for $5.00! I LOVE MUSSELS! Of course, I bought them, brought them home, and made moules mariniere, the quickest, easiest and most delicious way to eat mussels, IMHO. Since there were only 2 pounds, I served them over angel hair pasta, but it would be more traditionally French to serve them in wide, shallow soup or pasta bowl and use crusty bread to sop up the buttery goodness.
Live mussels should be stored in your refrigerator covered with ice or a damp cloth to keep them moist, but not in standing water. Any liquid collected should be drained daily. They will last this way for 3 or 4 days.
To prepare them for cooking, you should rinse them well with water, then pull off the "beards" which are the hairy cords that help them to attach to rocks and things as they grow in the ocean.
2 Lbs. Mussels
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped mild onion
2 - 3 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon basil or thyme
4 tablespoons butter
Shake or two of cayenne
To get this on the table quickly, put the water to boil for the pasta first. When it is almost ready to boil, melt the butter in a large sauce pan with a lid and saute onions, garlic and herbs over medium heat until the onions are translucent. (You can use shallots, leeks or scallions instead of the onion - I used onion because that's what I had in the house.) Put the pasta in the boiling water, bring back to a boil and time for 6 minutes. Immediately turn the heat under the onions to high, slosh in the wine and the mussels, cover well and steam for 6 minutes until the shells are open and the mussels are opaque. Discard any unopened mussels.
Remove mussels from heat, drain pasta, and pour mussels with their garlic-butter sauce over the pasta and toss well.
Although not traditional, this is very good with a dash of herbes de provence and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. I mean, what DOESN'T taste better with parmesan? Not much, I tell you. But alas, it is Lent. Its also very traditional to stir in a spoon or two of heavy cream into this mussels.
Dear Daughter really loved this, especially since I served it over pasta. I did too!