Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mussels Moi, aka, Moules Mariniere

Mussels My Way by annbumbly
Mussels Moi, aka, Moules Mariniere
This past Christmas, our entire immediate family gathered in Missouri for the holidays. It was the first time we've all been together since my sis, Carrie, and her hubs (Marty) were married in 2001. We've all been back to Missouri since then, but never every single one of us at the same time.
My brother, Bill, happens to be married to a wonderful gal (Chrissy) whose family has celebrated the Feast of the Seven Fishes every Christmas Eve since her childhood, so she led the family on how to assemble this magnificient food orgy. I was asked to make the mussels as Chrissy had had them before and loved them. We served the mussels and smoked trout for the appetizer course, then a calamari salad course. First course was linguini with white clam sauce, then we were on to our entrees - grilled salmon, baked cod and Cayman-style red snapper. 

A whole lotta of fishes goin' on - and they were all over-the-top delicious!


The T'nG:

2 lbs. fresh mussels
1/2 stick unsalted butter
4 good-sized shallots (onions would do nicely), chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bottle dry white wine, either sauvignon blanc or moscato
1/3 cup dry vermouth
1 12 - 14 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 bouquet garni (piece of celery & carrot, 4 sprigs fresh parsley, 3 sprigs fresh tarragon, 4 - 6 blades fresh chives tied together - the parsley and tarragon are very important flavors)
1/3 - 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped - reserve some to sprinkle over top of bowl
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

crusty French baguette(s), warmed

Place mussels in the sink. Scrub under cold running water and remove any "beards" you find (the seaweed-looking stuff that can be hanging out of the mussel - not all will have a "beard"). Throw away any mussels that are badly cracked or open. Set aside in a colander. Melt butter in a large pot, over medium heat, with a tight fitting lid. Stir in the shallots and garlic and sauté gently until soft. Raise the heat and add the wines and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and cook for two minutes or so to meld the flavors. Turn heat to high and add the mussels; quickly cover the pot. Steam, stirring gently once or twice, until all the mussels open, about 3 - 5 minutes. Remove mussels from the pot with a slotted spoon; set aside in a serving bowl big enough to hold the and the liquid. Discard any mussels you see that didn't open. Cover with foil. Stir in the tomatoes and boil the remaining broth (with bouquet garni) until reduced by about half. Fish out the bouquet garni and toss. Stir in the parsley and pour broth over the mussels. Sprinkle remaining parsley on top.

Serve in small bowls with a slotted spoon and ladle with the baguette(s). Delicious!!!

For our Xmas 2011 Feast of the Seven Fishes, we made 4 lbs. mussels and I doubled most of the other ingredients, (not the wine - but added half a bottle vermouth). This, of course, is not an exact-science recipe. Amounts are suggestions. 

I made this the very first time in 2003 for a Sunday Family Dinner (a very important event in our family). I found the recipe on the now-defunct and it was originally called Mussels, Sailor Style. It was delicious, but over the years I've changed it so much, it's really my recipe now. So...start here, change it around and make it your own! xoabb



'till we feast again!

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