Week 5: Alcohol – Mussels in White Wine Sauce

I love Ina Garten! Barefoot Contessa is one of my favorite shows on Food Network. Her style of cooking is just so up my alley, lots of fresh herbs, and bright flavors. I decided to use her recipe from the food network site for this meal. So the first time I ever had mussels was just a few years ago, at my friends Andy & Frank’s house warming party. Frank, was preparing mussels in wine sauce for dinner, and asked if I liked them. I told him I had never tried them, and I wasn’t interested, it didn’t appeal to me. He said I was crazy and very much missing out on a great thing! He convinced me to just TRY one, and the rest of the party attendees joined in, pleading with me, telling me how I would love mussels. So, of course I tried them. And of course I loved them! But the sauce. The sauce, soaked up with a crunchy, crusty, chewy bread. Oh lord, the sauce. Garlic and wine with the salty juices from the mussels. Whoa.

First discard any mussels that are not tightly closed, or the shells are cracked. Then place them in a bowl of water with the flour. Let them sit for 30 minutes while they release any sand they held on to. Drain the water and clean mussels really well, removing any beards. I used a veggie scrubber to clean the shells good.

Heat butter and oil in a large pot that you can cover. I used a wok, and then just set the largest stock pot lid I had over the time when it was time. When the oils and butter is heated/melted add shallots, and cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook a minute or two longer. Don’t let the garlic burn though.

Add the tomatoes, saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Add the mussels, and make sure to stir them well, to coat with the sauce. Cover with lid and let cook for about 10 minutes, or until all the mussels are open. Throw out any mussels that remain closed. Stir again and serve over pasta (like I did), or with sliced bread.

Here’s what you’ll need!

  • 3 pounds cultivated mussels
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, drained (4 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon good saffron threads
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup good white wine
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten at http://www.foodnetwork.com/

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