ORIGINAL RECIPE: A conglomeration of recipes from the internet*
TIMING: 30 minutes
DIFFICULTY: Easy, but there is room for error
TOOLS: A deep saute pan, a large mixing bowl, etc.
COOK TYPE: Stovetop. Saute and steam
HEALTH: Mussels are a great option for a cheaper shellfish. Here, they have the added fat of creme fraiche, but look for upcoming recipes with less fat and more garlic.
EXPERIENCE: My son loves mussels. My husband almost hates them. But he is gracious enough to not complain when I buy them for my son every once in awhile. When it comes to mussels, though, I am a one-trick pony. I just steam them open in white wine and garlic. It’s yummy, but we wanted something a little different.
Turns out, this isn’t that different. But it is really good.
NOTES: We also love other shellfish, from shrimp to lobster, but we have discovered that mussels are usually the cheapest shellfish at our fish market. We can snag a nice bag of them for $7.00.
- In a large bowl in your sink, gently place 1-2 pounds mussels (throwing away those that won’t close with a tap) and cover with cold water. Let sit for about 1/2 hour. Drain and de-beard, then cover with fresh, cold water a couple more times to remove all sand.
- In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat and melt until it almost browns. Add 1 thin-sliced onion and 2 stalks sliced celery and saute until the onions are translucent.
- Add a sprig of thyme, a bay leaf, 1 cup white wine, and mussels and gently stir. Mussels will pop open after only a few minutes.
- Once all of the mussels are open (you may have to remove 1 or 2 that refuse to do so), whisk in 1 cup crème fraîche. Taste sauce for salt and pepper.
- Serve sauce and mussels in wide, shallow bowls and top with chopped parsley.
Serve with slices of lightly oiled and toasted French bread and white wine as a very fancy first course or a shellfish-family-friendly entree. It would pair well with a pasta or risotto, broiled fish, and a couple veggies, like garlic roasted broccoli or sauteed broccoli rabe with red pepper flake and marinated mushrooms.
*Recipe changed from the original.