Had some old friends from high school over for drinks and dinner tonight. I'd noticed a trend on some blogs lately discussing mussels and I wanted to give it a shot. Basically for the bread and broth, but also to give the whole mussels thing a try. Luckily I had some willing participants in my experiment.
I was a little leery when the guy behind the counter at Whole Foods told me to be sure and report back if they didn't open and reminded me that they were alive. Apparently this was their first shipment, so they didn't know how they'd handle it. Spoke to Dave last night, and since he is responsible for introducing me to this culinary delight, I took his direction on how to prepare them.
Cut up and cook some bacon. Set aside.
Saute some leeks and fennel in left over bacon grease and olive oil.
Add 1/2 bottle of white wine and some water (1 cup) to the pot.
Add chopped parsley.
Steam mussels, add bacon back to pot.
Olive oil with about 6 cloves diced garlic.
Add two dried red chilis and 2 bay leaves.
Add the rest of the white wine and some water.
Steam mussels until they pop open.
I got 8 large green mussels (3/4 pound). These, as the guy suggested, did not open. Only one did actually. I also got about a pound of blues. This amount was the fish guy's recommendation. I think a good rule of thumb moving forward is to do about 1# per person of the little blue ones. Thankfully not everyone was that into the actual mussels so we didn't run out or anything. I just think more would be better.
Dave also suggested making a butter blend for the bread dipping and sopping up. So I mixed a clove of chopped fresh garlic and a bunch of fresh parsley in with the butter. Wow was that good. I mean, the bread coated in the butter and drenched in the broths. Yum. We sided it with acorn squash (butter, brown sugar, salt), a mandarin orange and toasted almond green salad, and some brown rice for Tony. Kinda random but I think everyone had a pretty good time. It's funny how getting together with old friends you see maybe once a year can be so fluid. Gab, gab, gab.
And I was able to "fix" myself of the mussel craving I had all week. I love cooking and entertaining. It's a great way to get the house cleaned as well!