Monday, April 14, 2008

Mussels with Saffron and Mustard

Mussels are probably one of my favorite creatures of the sea. Really, it's anything that comes in a shell, followed by tuna, a long chasm of emptiness, and then everything else. This dish, as I'm making a habit of in the early going, was pretty simple. That does not bode well for the end of this little Bouchon saga but we'll deal with that when we get to the end.

Here are the ingredients:

Starting with the mussels and going clockwise, we've got mussels, parsley, butter, shallots and garlic confit, mustard, and salt and pepper. There's also a bottle of wine involved, but that was already opened and somewhat consumed, so good photography it would not make. What's that in the middle? That enriched uranium. Not really, it's saffron, but it should of been for how expensive it was. One gram of it will set you back about 5 bucks. Five bucks isn't bad though, so what am I'm complaining about? Let's change from dollars/gram to the more American friendly dollars/pound. How does $2,270 per pound sound? It sounds absurd to me. Wikipedia has all sorts of facts about how little saffron you can get from a flower. There's also an insanely scientific way for quantifying the quality of saffron. So scientific in fact, that it sounds like everybody skips it for the more tangible 'How does it taste?' test.

Ok, back to the cooking. This is a one pot deal, so you're going to need a big pot.
Melt the butter, then add all of the dry ingredients. Cook that for a bit, then add the wine and mustard. Cook that for a bit more, and the saffron, put on the top, and stop cooking that for a bit. Wait somewhere between 5 minutes and a few hours.

Let's prepare the mussels. I was introduced to mussels by James, and I still take most of my muscle mussel advice from him. This seems reasonable, since he's from here. Where there's water, there are mussels, right? After a brief discussion on de-bearding them, we decided that it looked like it was already done. Hint for later: They weren't.

Meanwhile, I was bringing the broth back to a simmer. This didn't take too long because I waited much closer to five minutes than a few hours. In went the mussels, mix it up a little, cover, and cook. Three or four minutes later it was time to throw on some parsley and pepper and head for the table. Here's what we ended up with:

They were very good, if not beard-y. It was incredibly easy to make, and pretty inexpensive as well. My unrefined palette had a tough time finding the saffron, but I chalk that up to not really knowing exactly how much 4 pinches is. I probably did not use enough because each little thread is worth more that the rest of the dinner combined, so that may have been my fault. Other than that though, everything was delicious.

1 comment:

ClaireWalter said...

Re: "...anything that comes in a shell, followed by tuna, a long chasm of emptiness, and then everything else."

That's pretty much my ranking, except that I'd insert wild-caught Pacific salmon between the shellfish and tuna. But that's just me.

Claire @