Mussels in Saffron-White Wine Sauce

>> Friday, June 5, 2015


Mussels in Saffron-White Wine Sauce


Mussels sometimes fall into the same category as Cornish game hens or crab legs - delicious, but a lot of work for a little bit of food. For me, they're also in the category of, "Why did the first human think these might be good to eat?" The ones I see in the store are dark and crusty on the outside, with fringy things along the edge that I think are feelers. Yuck.

These tasty little bites are worth it, though. When they pop open while cooking, you see the lovely pearl-blue inner shell - pretty enough that the first humans used them as jewelry. Along the Pacific coast, Native Americans used to have village-wide cookouts and the shells piled up for yards near the shore.

I'm guessing they didn't use saffron and capers in their mussel parties, though.

Ingredients

3 lbs fresh mussels
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup strong chicken broth or fish stock
2 tsp saffron
2 tbsp small capers
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 pound spaghetti noodles, cooked

Instructions

Scrub the mussels under running water with a brush, making sure to pull off the "beards" on the edge of any shells. Throw away any mussels that are already open.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large pan. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until tender and golden. Stir in the salt, pepper, wine, broth, saffron, tarragon, and parsley. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add the mussels, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.

To serve, pile the spaghetti in separate bowls and arrange the mussels over the pasta. Ladle the sauce evenly over each bowl before serving.

Serves 4.

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