Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Meal Plan Review - Mussels Mariniere with Linguini

If you read my weekly meal plan post on Monday, you might remember that I had plans to attempt mussels for Valentine's dinner.

Though North Carolina is East Coast, we don't live close to the actual coast, so it really shouldn't have come as a big surprise that mussels are hard to find in Durham. Really, tracking them down was probably the most difficult part of making this meal.

I finally got my hands on the elusive mussels by making a drive downtown to Capital Seafood Market. It's a small business, full of fresh seafood - NC shrimp, fillets of salmon, whole ocean fish, like grouper and red snapper. I was in foodie heaven. Though tempted to stock up on really expensive fish, I walked away with only a 2 pound bag of mussels, for just $5!

Making my mussels, mariniere style, was a bit of a learning experience. Though not difficult to make, mussels do require a little bit of prep work. (the recipe is below, promise)
  • After bringing live mussels home, take them out of the bag. They're still alive and need to breathe.
  • Prior to cooking, throw out any mussels that are cracked or open. 
  • Soak mussels in cool, fresh water for about 20 minutes prior to cooking. This gives them time to spit out any sand and sediment. 
  • Scrub soaked mussels with a brush to remove any leftover debris. 
  • "Debeard" the mussels by pulling the "whiskers" out toward the hinge of the shell.

Now on to the cooking...

  • 2 lbs fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (will add more next time)
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 4 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • dried parsley (could use fresh, I didn't have any)  
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (same as the parsley, and hey, gotta use those stockpile items)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 box linguini

  • Directions:
    1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and saute for one minute. Do not allow garlic to brown.
    2. Add white wine, tomatoes, parsley and butter. Stir and bring to a boil. Boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While sauce boils, cook pasta according to package.
    3. Add the mussels to the pot, cover and allow to cook. After five minutes, add green onions. Cover and approx. 5 more minutes, until the shells are opened.
    4. Transfer the mussels and sauce to a large serving bowl. Discard any unopened shells.

Serve with crusty bread for dipping! Ours is hidden behind the bowl.


My Valentine's Flowers :)

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