Saturday, February 5, 2011

Flexing My Mussels

These two big guys are holding up the balcony at the Tribunal of Commerce in Aix-en-Provence in southern France. The creativity of the architects and artists who have designed these wonders is startling to me. No telling how many photos I have of door knobs. And not just any door knobs. They're all too-too-faboo. I'm working on my French.
It was in Aix that I first tasted this shelled delicacy called the mussel and I've been hooked ever since. Turns out they're sooooo easy to prepare and cooking them makes your house smell like Julia Child lives in your kitchen. Here's what I tried tonight:
















Mussels in Parsley Creme Sauce

1 lb. mussels (for this recipe I used a box of frozen mussels from Kroger)
1 cup white wine
1/2 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbl. finely chopped onion
4 tbl. butter
1 tsp. Herbs of Provence
1 tbl. olive oil
1 tbl. heavy cream
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup (or so) bread crumbs


In the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment place the parsley leaves and garlic. Process until well blended and parsley is shredded. Add onion, butter (cut into three or four pieces), herbs, olive oil and the juice of half of the lemon. Process again until blended. Add cream and pulse a few times until the mixture is fluffy. Set aside.


Remove the frozen mussels from the bag and place in a heavy skillet, covered, over high heat. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir and add one cup of white wine. Cover and cook over med-high heat, covered, an additional 3 minutes. Remove mussels from the skillet with a slotted spoon and place on foil covered baking sheet. Discard any shells that failed to open.

Arrange the mussels on the baking sheet and place a dollop of the parsley mixture on each mussel. Top with a good sprinkling of bread crumbs. Place in oven preheated to 400 degrees. Bake for 8 minutes until the parsley butter mixture is melted and bread crumbs begin to get brown and crispy.


While the mussels are baking, melt 1/2 stick of butter in the drained skillet. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup white wine and any parsley butter mixture that is left over, along with a tsp. of lemon juice. Warm the sauce, but do not let it boil.

Remove the mussels from the oven and carefully transfer to pasta bowls or other broad bowl. Ladle the sauce over the mussels and serve with hot French bread for dipping.




















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