I am making mussels for the Feast of Seven Fishes I am hosting on Christmas Eve. As I never have actually made mussels, I wanted to test it out. I got some beautiful mussels from Whole Foods for just 5.99 a pound. I went down to Smiths (aka Kroger), and they also had mussels, but 2 dollars cheaper. However, they were tiny and looked to be of poor quality.
Julia Childs calls the mussel “the poor man’s oyster,” however I did not feel poor eating these with my husband. The wine sauce it was steamed in was so rich, I felt like we were indulging beyond our means on our meal of mussels & fresh french baguette.
Moules a la Mariniere (Fresh Mussels Steamed Open in Wine & Flavorings)
2 cups of light, white wine
1/2 cup of minced shallots
8 parsley sprigs
1/2 bay leaf
1/4 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp pepper (I actually just threw in a couple peppercorns)
6 tablespoons of butter
2lbs of fresh mussels, soaked
1. I should preface by saying that I am not sure if this step is even necessary with today’s primarily farm-raised mussels. However, I did it anyhow. Soak the mussels in cold water for an hour. There’s an old wives tale that mussels will eat flour, and if you add 1/2 a cup of flour to the water your mussels will be meatier. True? Who knows. I added the flour. After an hour dump the water, and rinse the mussels until the water drains clear.
2. In a stock pot, add the wine, shallots, parsley, spices, and butter. Bring to a boil, and let cook for 2-3 minutes.
3. Add the mussels. Holding the lid closed, shake the pot to ensure that the mussels are cooking evenly. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mussels are mostly opened.
4. In a deep bowl, spoon in the mussels and the wine mixture. Eat with sliced french bread. Enjoy the juices, they are as delicious as the mussels.
This was so good, and incredibly easy to make. Who knew? Mussels seem like such a luxury to me, and today I learn they are cheap and they are super easy to make. My husband and I enjoyed a light dinner of mussels in bread, perfect for a Saturday, when we are prone to snacking. I am making mussels with a different sauce for The Feast. Adventuring with mussels makes me want to venture into other (what I assumed to be) “difficult” seafoods.