Sunday, August 23, 2015

Maine Mussels in White Wine & Garden Herb Broth (serves 1)

Farm raised Maine mussels are absolutely delicious. They tend to have less of the tiny pearls in them than the wild ones. Although be careful when eating any mussels. You don't want to damage your teeth by biting down on these pearls! I am lucky they are available at my local markets (in coastal New Hampshire) this summer. This week the market seems to have exceptionally large ones, about 2-3 inches in length. Wash the mussels well and discard any with broken shells. I also use kitchen shears to trim the beard so they look pretty when cooked. Some shells may have barnacles (the white raised rough spots on the shell) which is fine. It is impossible to remove them and they will not affect the taste. I used some left over white wine and diced tomatoes to make this tasty dish. I prefer to cook with drinkable wine. I don't enjoy eating overcooked mussels so as soon as most of them open up I remove the pot from heat. Discard any that do not open up. To me this dish is perfect without any added salt. If we have any toasted French bread in the house my husband and I like to soak up some of this sweet broth. I prefer to eat them hot or warm but they are still good when cooled.

Maine Mussels in White Wine & Garden Herb Broth
Maine Mussels in White Wine & Garden Herb Broth (serves 1)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped (about 1 Tbsp)
About 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped shallot (1 large or 2 small shallots)
2 Tbsp chopped tomato
1/4 cup white wine
2 lbs Maine mussels (or another type of mussels)
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Chinese chives, optional

Method:

1) Heat a large pot or wok over medium high heat. Once hot add oil and butter.
2) Once the butter melts add garlic and shallot. Saute about 2 minutes or until the shallot is soft.
3) Add tomato and saute about a minute.
4) Add wine, mussels and thyme. Increase heat until the liquid starts to boil then turn heat down slightly. Cook until the mussels start to open up (approximately 5-6 minutes). Occasionally either take a wooden spoon to stir the mussels or take the whole pot and shuffle/toss the entire contents a few times to help cook evenly. May partially cover the pot or wok to help cook the mussels faster. Add chives about a minute before done and give the pot a good shuffle/toss to blend everything and remove from heat.

*My mother likes to add a drizzle of fish sauce at the end of cooking time. However, I prefer no salt or fish sauce since these mussels release their salty juice.

fresh Maine mussels
photo taken in Newmarket, New Hampshire (2015)

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