Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mussels in wine sauce

Months that end in "-ber" are the best months for eating mussels. I've bought mussels from WholeFoods, Capital Seafood Market on University Dr., and Harris Teeter. The best ones were from Capital Seafood Market. Almost all of them opened and they tasted fresh. WholeFoods is second best. Don't bother buying them from Teeter. Most of the ones I got didn't open. That means they were dead on arrival.

Mussels are a great starter course for a group or a meal for two. Store them in fridge and cook within a day of purchase. When you are ready to cook them, rinse the mussels well in cold water. Pull out any remaining beard which is dark green, fuzzy looking stuff.

In a large pot combine 2 cups of wine, 6 T butter, 1/2 chopped shallots, 1/2 t. dried thyme or 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, 8 sprigs of parsley, pepper. Bring to a boil, then cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the alcohol burns off. Add the mussels to the pot and cover with a lid. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes or until the mussels open.

Serve the museels in a bowl and then pour the sauce over them. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve with french bread.


phil said...

Oh man, yum. That recipe sounds great. I've not yet learned how to appreciate the perfect appropriateness of shallots. Your blog encourages me to do so.

Regarding the alcohol in the wine, you made me do a little digging to re-remember something I thought I heard once on a cooking show.

Here's a link that you may find interesting. The final quote makes the most sense to me:

"Madeleine Kamman, James Peterson and some of our other cooking heroes may be on the mark when stating that the harshness of the alcohol burns off quickly. But the alcohol itself is clearly another matter."

In any case, you've reignited my itch to eat more seafood. Fortunately, I'm in Portland, OR for the week.

In theory, I could make the most of your recipe by Picking My Own!

But three things discourage: (1) I'm lazy (2) I don't like the cold and (3) Oregon officials recently closed much of the coast to mussel harvesting because of some "paralytic shellfish toxin". Whether the paralysis refers to the shellfish or to the eater, I don't know, but reasons (1) and (2) mean it probably won't matter to me. Oh man -- laziness.

Happy eating in Durham.

K said...

I love cooking w/ shallots. The flavor is delicate and sweet compared to its cousin the onion.

Phil, don't put anything in your mouth that contains the word "toxin," OK?