Recent Posts

July 26, 2009

Check Out My Big Mussels

It's summer. It's hot. Crazy hot. I don't like eating heavy meals when it's hot out and it's bikini season. I'm trying to stay in shape but still enjoy my nom noms. One way to do that is with seafood and this night in particular I was craving mussels. I took a short trip to Belgium a little over a year ago and discovered just how wonderful these little black mollusks could be. I decided to challenge myself with attempting mussels for the first time to compete with the memory of those done by the country known for them.

The first part of the challenge was actually finding the mussels. I got extremely lucky with grabbing the last two bags of them at Whole Foods. Part 1= accomplished. The second part I needed to accomplish was cleaning them. Tyler Florence tells me to just grab the beards between my index finger and thumb and pull them off. WAIT... BEARDS?!!! This is the first I've heard of this. Since when do I have to start ripping the ZZ Top off my seafood? I've now purchased two bags of something that now have been anthropomorphized and are going to gross me out!

With dinner guests looking on I knew I had no choice but to overcome my fears and just rip those gnarly beards out and scrub those suckers. One after another, I tugged out what resembled belly button lint mixed with dog hair out of the shells and scrubbed them under cold water, being careful to toss any of them that were open or damaged. When done, I set them aside and started the sauce.  

I opted for a pretty traditional white wine sauce to keep things simple. I added about a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of butter to a hot pot. Next I added finely chopped leeks (whites only), minced garlic (2 tablespoons), a finely chopped tomato and some fresh thyme.  I cooked these until nice and tender.  Next come the mussels. I dumped the clean mollusks in with the leek and garlic mixture then covered them in about 1 1/2 cups of white wine. I like my mussels buzzed. I covered and steamed them for 10 minutes.

When finished, I dumped the whole batch into a serving bowl and tossed some chopped fresh italian flat-leaf parsley on top. Ohhhh, if you could have only smelled my kitchen!

To serve, I put out a bowl of warmed french bread slices to sop up the sauce and voila! It may not be Moules Frites but it was pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. By the time I had set the table the memories of hairy little shells had long been gone. I overcame and defeated. Heather= 1, mussels= gone.


Laurie said...

hmm...I didn't know about mussel beards either! I think I'll avoid these little guys for now but it sounds like the final product was AWESOME.

TLW said...

Sounds great!! I LOVE mussels!! Have you tried the new cupcake place that just opened in DC - it's called Something Sweet?!?

DevouringDC said...

I haven't, but I will now!

Anonymous said...

My mom loves Mussels, she would gobble those babies up!

Post a Comment