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Friday, January 27, 2012

Cider & Shallot Mussels-Oh My!

Up until today I was under the impression that mussels were some sort of fancy and difficult dish that I could only have at a restaurant; that all kinds of timely preparation and secret ingredients were involved. I guess that's what I get for growing up in the Midwest! I could not have been more off, you pretty much just throw the mussels in a pan, wait a few minutes, and then voila! Make this, you're friends will be fooled and whisper derogatory remarks about you being a 'fancy-pants' and you will glow with pride about your daily victory. Yay you.
Crispin Brut & Shallot Mussels with Fresh Thyme: (enough for 2) 

1 1/2 lbs. Mussels, cleaned 
  1 Large shallot, thinly sliced
  1 Small bunch of thyme, leaves removed from stems 
  2 Tbsp. butter 
  Loaf of crusty bread (warm/toasted) for soppin' up sauce 
1) Start out by making sure of a couple things: 
      -Your mussels are alive. Just because they are opened before cooking does
        not mean that they are dead. Give the open mussel a firm couple knocks 
        against the table or a bowl, if they don't close within a minute, toss em'.
       Also, if there are any cracks, toss em'. (see picture below for example)
     -Your mussels are well cleaned. If they are not already debearded, remove the 
       beards by simply pulling them off. If your mussels have any barnacles on 
       them, use the back of a knife to scrape them off. When those things are 
       accomplished, wash mussels individually in a bowl of cool water with a scour 
       pad until dirt and debris are removed. 
Naughty mussel, no cracks allowed.
2) In a pan large enough to fit your mussels, with a tight fitting lid, melt the butter 
     over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for one minute, add the thyme 
     and cook for a minute more or until the shallots are tender.  
3) Add the mussels to the pan and pour the cider over. Put a lid on it and give them
     a good shake, turn up the heat and let simmer for 5-7 minutes. 
4) When the mussels have all cooked, remove the lid and transfer mussels to a strainer 
     placed over a bowl with a slotted spoon. Return the drained liquid to the pan and 
     simmer sauce for another few minutes. 
5) Place mussels in a serving dish and pour sauce over them. Eat.
     Tip: They say to not add any salt due to the briny liquid the mussels release; I still 
              think a  pinch of salt and a bit of fresh pepper would have really set it off

Did you know that the difference in color of the mussel's flesh is indicative of its sex? Truth.

So easy. Look at that delicious treat! I didn't think I could, but I did, and so can you. I always like to take risks in the kitchen, I'm no expert and there are new things to learn all the time. Our world of food is vast and delicious and it just so happens that I'm in the mood for an adventure...
  Join me?

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