I’ve spoken of my love of clams before, and how it reminds me of summers in Maine. Before I moved to New Jersey I had never eaten mussels before. I noticed that they were significantly cheaper than clams, so I decided to give them a try. I came across a recipe from Ina Garten, and gave it a try. It was delicious. Once all of the ingredients are prepped it comes together very quickly. If we are feeling fancy, we’ll transfer it to bowls, but most of the time we’ll just put the pot of mussels between us and eat right out of it. We are super classy over at our house. Serve it with a loaf of fresh bread and the rest of the wine, and you have a wonderful summer meal.
Mussels in White Wine
adapted from Ina Garten
- 3 lbs cultivated mussels // Wegmans sells them in 2 lb bags, so I usually just use 2 lbs
- 1/3 cup flour or cornmeal
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped shallots (5 – 7 shallots)
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 tsp saffron threads // I’ve made this with and without saffron, and like it both ways. Don’t worry if you don’t want to spend the money on saffron.
- 1 tsp dried thyme, crushed
- 1 cup good white wine // I like it with Sauvigon Blanc
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- salt (optional) // I find that it is plenty salty without salt, but try it and add it at the end if you find it lacking.
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl and cover them with water. Sprinkle the flour into the water and stir gently. Soak for 30 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand. Repeat if necessary. Drain the mussels, then remove the beard from each with your fingers. If they’re dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut.
- In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes, saffron, thyme, wine, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until all the mussels are opened. Discard any that do not open. With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don’t burn on the bottom.
- Sprinkle with parsley, and give another stir. Ladle into bowls, and serve with bread.