Thursday, June 17, 2010

White Wine Mussels

I've been craving mussels for over a year now. At the start of last summer, the husband and I road tripped it on up to San Francisco for a long weekend and while we were there we met up with some friends of mine for dinner at Q, where our group shared a bowl of mussels in broth. The dish was incredibly good and we greedily soaked up the broth with hunks of warm bread. That dinner stayed in my mind throughout the trip, and in the year since then I've had a longing to recreate the meal.

I spotted mussels at a decent price in the seafood section of Henry's recently, so I scoured the internet for the perfect recipe (well, not really. I just picked the first hit on Google) and got to work. While mussels do take a bit of prep work, since you have to soak them, this is not a difficult or extremely laborious dish. My best advice would be to chop the garlic, shallots, and parsley while the mussels are soaking, rather than lounging on the couch watching Real Housewives of NYC.

Debearding the mussels is a bit weird--it feels like they are fighting back as you yank their beards off (maybe they are?)--but it's better than eating that hairy stuff attached to them. Make sure you scrape off any barnacles or other ocean debris on the outside of the shells as well.

Use a good white wine, as it is the base of the broth, and serve each bowl of mussels with a big hunk of crusty bread. Bon appetite!

White Wine Mussels
Source: Adapted from Food Network, Barefoot in Paris (Ina Garten)
Printable Recipe


3 pounds fresh mussels
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5-7 shallots)
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic (5-6 garlic cloves)
1 pint grape tomatoes, whole
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup white wine
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper

Fill a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and add the flour. Pour in the mussels and let soak for 30 minutes to dredge any sand. (My mussels opened a bit, gently sighed, then closed and sank. It was cute.)

Drain the water and rinse off the mussels. Throw away any with open shells. Using your fingers, grasp the beards and pull off. (I found the best way to do this was yank the beard quickly towards the top of the shell.) Scrub the shells with a brush to remove any lingering debris.

In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes, or until the shallots are translucent.

Add the tomatoes, thyme (I throw the whole branch in), parsley, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. As the tomatoes soften, gently smash them with the back of a wooden spoon to incorporate their juice into the broth.

Add the mussels, stir them once or twice, then cover and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mussels are opened (throw away any that don't open). Shake the pot once or twice to ensure the bottom mussels don't burn.

Serve the mussels in a bowl with the broth and a hunk of bread.

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