Why mussels? Because we felt like having a fancy dinner and they were $5 per pound cheaper than shrimp. I’ve had mussels, like, twice, and enjoyed them, but preparing them was a pretty frightening thought.
Good thing it’s Halloween.
When you bring mussels home from the store (and I fully admit that these were not sourced anywhere even remotely close to the Midwest), they’re given to you in a bag of ice and it’s important to leave the bag open. No ice and a twistie tie = no bueno. Another admission: this recipe was picked up at the deli counter at Jewel and I had very little to do with the preparation of the mussels. I was on sides, where were also delicious and easy. So here’s the whole meal:
The Perfect Mussel Meal
- 2 lb mussels
- 2 TB olive oil
- 2 TB butter
- Dash salt
- 2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 2 TB fresh minced garlic
- 1/4 C. cheap white wine
- 1/4 C. each finely chopped basil and parsley
- Add olive oil, butter, salt, red pepper, and garlic to a large sauté pan or wok and bring to a simmer
- Add mussels, herbs, and wine. Cover and bring to a boil (5 min)
- Make sure all the mussels have opened, and pour them with the sauce into a large bowl to serve
I chose small potatoes, brussel sprouts, fennel and pearl onions for roasting as a side with the mussels. Par boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes, the sprouts for about six, until they are all just beginning to get soft. Drain and pat dry, then spread the potatoes, fennel bulb and pearl onions on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle olive oil and salt over everything and roast for about 10 minutes in a 350-deg oven. After 10 minutes, add the brussel sprouts to the baking sheet (pre-drizzled and salted), and roast everything for another 10 minutes.
Serve all of this with a crock of melted butter and lemon wedges (or, just add a splash of lemon juice to the butter), a hunk of crusty bread, an empty bowl for the shells, a glass of wine, and extra napkins. I realize that chilled white wine probably would have been better than red, but the bottle was already open. For fun, we also grilled some small chicken thighs for the meal.
Who would have thought such an extravagant meal was so easy to make?
…and so beautifully delicious.