I was wondering around the supermarket the other day doing my usual "what on earth am I going to cook for dinner" routine. No more chicken. I'm trying to cut down on red meat. Not pasta, not again, too many carbs. Then I spied their lovely shiny black, blue shells nestled in a mound of ice. Mussels! The first time I ever ate mussels was in the Channel Isles just off the south coast of England, on holiday with a school friend. I was enchanted. It was sunny and warm, people spoke French and being about 13 or so I felt I was on a wonderful adventure. Every time I've eaten mussels since I'm reminded of that lovely holiday and still feel transported back to the warm, sunny beach.
Not only does this taste fantastic, they're REALLY quick and easy to cook. I like to serve them with a warm baguette (with plenty of butter if you're in the mood) to sop up the delicious broth and a salad on the side.
2 - 2 1/2 lbs of mussels
1 shallot or small onion
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
4 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup of dry white wine
If you can buy your mussels ready cleaned go ahead and do so, it will save you lots of time. If not, soak the mussels in a large bowl of iced water for about an hour. Most of the sand will fall to the bottom of the bowl. Then go through each mussel and remove the "beards" and wash under cold water. Discard any mussels that are already open.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven heat the butter and oil. Add the shallot, sprinkle with the salt and pepper and saute until soft and just turning golden. Don't burn!
Add the garlic cloves.
Then the mussels, wine and parsley. Put a lid on the pan and steam. The wine should be bubbling and the mussels will open. Discard any that don't.
Pile into a large bowl. Provide another bowl for the empty shells and plenty of napkins. This can be a bit of a messy business. Don't forget to luxuriate in the broth!