Mussels in White Wine recipe from Celebrating Home: A Handbook for Gracious Living by Christy Rost
Author Christy Rost:
When the meal has to be impressive, but time is precious, this elegant but very simple first course is the answer. Mussels are steamed for just a few minutes in a savory wine and shallot broth, then served with a garnish of large caper berries in beautiful white bowls that show off the mussels’ deep color. A loaf of rustic bread with a crusty exterior allows guests to sop up the last few drops of sweet, salty mussel and wine nectar.
I always check with my seafood department several days ahead to place my order, because mussels are alive and should be cooked the day they are purchased to ensure freshness. Store them in the refrigerator in a large bowl until just before preparation.
I’m sure this dish would be excellent any time of the year. But perhaps because I’m writing this in mid-December, I’m thinking of it as ideally suited for Christmas Eve. With the Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, I tend to see so many seafood recipes being shared now that I always want to try one, even if I’m not Italian and I’m not cooking up the feast. We can all share in the (sea)food fun, right?
What’s more, since this recipe is super-easy and super-elegant, why not do a repeat on New Year’s Eve? You’ll already be popping open the bottles of champagne, which pairs excellently with shellfish, including mussels. Indeed, I think I’ll substitute a dry champagne for the dry white wine in the recipe the second time around. You can never have too much champagne (or good food) to kick off the new year…
Mussels in White Wine
Featured Recipe From: Celebrating Home: A Handbook for Gracious Living
Yield: 2 to 3 Main Dish Servings, or 6 First Course Servings
2 pounds fresh mussels
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons shallot, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Keep mussels chilled until shortly before cooking. Soak them in a bowl of cold water 15 minutes so that they disgorge their sand, drain and rinse. Remove any mussels with open or cracked shells and discard. To remove beards from the mussels, hold the mussel in one hand, grasp the beard with a towel, and pull it downward toward the shells hinge.
Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat, add the oil, and swirl the pan to mix. Sauté the shallot in the butter mixture 2 minutes, or until it is soft, add garlic, and sauté 1 minute more. Pour in the wine, add salt and pepper, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the mussels and caperberries, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook 4 to 6 minutes until all the shells have opened.
Spoon mussels into large bowls with some of the broth, garnish with caperberries, and serve with crusty bread to sop up the liquid.
© 2012 Christy Rost
Reprinted with permission from Celebrating Home: A Handbook for Gracious Living, by Christy Rost (Bright Sky Press)