July 08, 2009

Mussels in White Wine (Half Fail)

So this is my first time making this dish and instead of following one recipe, I go and combine three... While not a complete fail - very much edible and enjoyable, just not that throw down, omg moment, this is the recipe, I want to drink the sauce and eat bread forever kind of meal - I should have just stuck with one recipe and then adapted from there.

Anyways, why did I make this dish? Father's day of course. I actually wanted to cook lobster for my old poppers but the store ran out. They did, however, have a good selection of mussels. Mussels are interesting. Whiledirections usually say as long as they are closed or if they are open and when you touch them and they close - they're alive. I dunno, it still made me a little nervous that a single shell would ruin the entire dish - so making this dish added a few spurts of anxiety and anticipation as I waited to the end to find out if all the mussels were perfectly fine.

I couldn't find one recipe that sounds so delicious that I wouldn't change anything. Some recipes sounded good but they had random ingredients that my frugal self wouldn't purchase - like saffron, for instance - or had a variety of herbs that I thought would make this a tad overwhelming. I also didn't have a recipe with me in the store - since this was a spur of the moment decision - so I basically just bought ingredients I thought it would go well with. Ha!

After making it, I realized I did several things wrong. I didn't buy enough mussels to begin with (I only bought 1 lb instead of the recommended 3 lbs) so there wasn't enough shellfish flavor to balance out the amount of white wine (1 cup). As a result, the wine flavor was a little too overwhelming. I also cooked this a tad longer than I should have, especially after pouring in the wine which can start having a tart/tangy flavor than that sweet flavor you get with this dish. I'll try this again in a few weeks with some changes so watch out for the next time I make this!

Mussels in white wine sauce
Random variation off three recipes and whatever veggies I had around the kitchen
Serves 3

3 pounds mussels (I used 1 lb....mistake #1)
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)

1 cup chopped leeks (1 large leek - only the white and light green parts)
Dry basil - just a dash for seasoning
Dash of Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
4oz can of chopped tomatoes

1 cup good white wine (I used La Crema Chard)
S&P to taste

Clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with water and flour. Soak for at least 30 minutes so they get rid of any sand/dirt. Drain the mussels, then remove the "beard" from each with your fingers and make sure they're clean.
In a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and leeks and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent.

Add tomatoes, herbs and S&P
Add wine and bring to a boil

Add the mussels, stir and then cover the pot. Cook for about eight minutes or until the mussels are open. Mistake: I cook waaaay too long by letting it boil for almost 15 minutes.

Serve with toasted bread to soak up all that sauce and enjoy!

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