Monday, July 13, 2009

mussels in creamy garlic sauce

Mussels are a family favorite in our house and once you prepared them once, it was really easy. There is some prep work to clean them but the end result is worth it. You can get a fresh 5 lb bag at Costco on Friday mornings for about $12.00 but go early because they are gone quick...

How Much To Buy: Figure one pound per person of unshucked mussels as a main course, half a pound or more per person as a starter..

Selecting and Storing Mussels: As with clams and oysters, mussels must be cooked while they are still alive. A good fishmonger sells them loose or in mesh bags bathed in water. Smell them. They should smell like the sea. Never buy mussels that are cracked, chipped or broken. If any in the package are open, test them to make sure they’re alive (see below).

Are They Alive? Fortunately, you can determine if the mussels are alive. The shells of live mussels will be tightly closed. If gaping slightly, they should close if you tap on the shell. If any don’t close, discard them.

Cleaning & De-Bearding Mussels.... You want to get rid of as much sand as possible.

Soak the mussels in cool fresh water for 20-30 minutes before cooking. The mussels will expel most of the sand inside the shell as the “breathe.”Then with your hands or a firm brush, clean the mussels under running water. If you harvested the mussels yourself off the rocks at the shore (lucky you!), the barnacles on the shells will take quite a bit more cleaning to get the sand and grit out.Some mussels may have a “beard,” a small web of vegetative matter with which the mussel clings to the rocks. Wait to de-beard the mussels until just before cooking. When you’re ready, the beard is easily removed by gripping it and giving it good tug towards the hinge edge of the shell. If it’s stubborn, you may need to use a knife or kitchen scissors. After steaming mussels (recipes below) remove them to your serving dishes and let the broth rest a few minutes to allow any remaining sand to settle to the bottom. Then carefully ladle or pour out the broth, but not all the way to the bottom.

3 lbs fresh mussels, well scrubbed
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup good chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 carrots, diced
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
squeeze of fresh lemon juice

In a large stock pot combine butter, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, cream and white wine. Simmer on low for 5 minutes until veggies are soft. Add mussels and cover tightly and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes, or until mussels open. Taste broth, then add the parsley, salt and pepper. Throw away any mussels that don't open and let sit for 2 minutes to allow any remaining sand to settle to the bottom. Transfer the mussels to a deep serving dish and carefully ladle or pour out the broth, but not all the way to the bottom. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the top just before serving. Serve with some crusty bread like a good french baguette to soak up the yummy boys think this is the best part!! ENJOY, I know you will ;)

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