Mussels in White Wine

>> Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I'm not a huge seafood lover (have you noticed the relative scarcity of fish recipes on here?!?) but my dad loves mussels. A few years ago, I started cooking mussels for him for his birthday and Father's Day as one of his presents. Whenever I tell him I'm making his mussels, he usually breaks into song - "I'm in heaven" by Fred Astaire is his usual tune of choice.

Never having eaten much seafood, I was hesitant to try my hand at cooking it. But when I first saw this recipe on an episode of Barefoot Contessa, I decided I could definitely make them. They are so easy to make and everyone (except me!) loves them.

Mussels aren't expensive either (I got mine for $8.99 for 2 lbs) but I would recommend buying them at a seafood shop or gourmet grocery store to ensure getting the freshest mussels possible. If you have a seafood lover in your life, give these a try!

Mussels in White Wine
recipe adapted slightly by Erin from Ina Garten, Barefoot in Paris Cookbook
serves 6 as an appetizer, 2 for main course

2 lbs mussels
1/3 flour
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
4 to 5 shallots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-oz) can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, juice mostly drained
1/2 t saffron threads (you can omit this if you don't have saffron - it's pretty expensive!)
1/3 c parsley, chopped
1 T thyme (or 1 t dried thyme)
1 c white wine
2 t kosher salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
Good quality sliced bread, for serving

To clean the mussels, mix water and flour in a very large bowl. Add mussels and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain the mussels and rinse each one under running water. Remove any "beard" from each with your fingers. Discard any mussels that aren's tightly shut.

In a large stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Add mussels, stir well, then cover the pot. Lower heat to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes (mine always take 8 minutes), until all the mussels are opened. Discard those that aren't open. With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice. Pour mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve steaming hot. Serve with sliced bread for soaking up the broth and make sure to also have a large bowl on the table for the shells.


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