Saturday, June 6, 2009

More mussels to love.

At 5:30, after buying cilantro lime pasta this morning, I went to West Side Market with the intention of buying scallops. I thought the scallops would go well with the pasta--like a ceviche, with a little olive oil and perhaps some red pepper flakes.

But of course, it was the end of the day, and there were mussels. I took about a pound, for $2.50.
Browsing SmittenKitchen for a scallop recipe, I stumbled upon this pairing of mussels and fries, which I guess is a Belgian thing. I don't know much about Belgium apart from watching Giada eat her way through Brussels a few years ago. I had a few fingerlings left over from another adventure this week (that I'll share eventually, as the experiment kind of failed), so I decided to go all the way and make the whole meal.

The only issue was the white wine.

Sadly, I am not yet 21 (soon!). But how about white cooking wine? Do they card you for that?

Apparently not. Even though I probably could have gotten away with buying a real bottle of white wine in the grocery store (in Ohio, they have wine in the grocery store. Amazing) with the stubble I've accumulated over the past 4 days of not shaving, I went for Goya's white cooking wine for $2.32.

Now, it could be that I don't know much about wine, but the cooking wine wasn't bad. I know you should never cook with wine you wouldn't drink, but here it seems okay to bend the rules.

Moules a la mariniere/Fresh Mussels Steamed in Wine and Flavorings
Adapted from SmittenKitchen, but actually from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" (!)
Serves one.

1 c white wine
3 Tb butter
1/2 c chopped green onion
1 clove diced garlic
A few cranks black pepper
3/4 lb. mussels

1. Scrub your mussels (I incurred a minor blister on my thumb--get a scrub brush, using a dishcloth is hard work).
2. In a pot large enough to spread all the mussels in one layer, pour the white wine and the butter. Over medium heat, allow the butter to melt. Add the green onion, garlic, and black pepper.
3. Add the mussels, put a lid on the pot, and crank up the heat to high. In about 5 or 6 minutes, your mussels will have steamed open. Discard those that do not.

The sauce this makes is delicious. Suitable for dipping french fries in, but you might want to have some good, crusty bread on hand. You can also add and swap out various herbs--the original recipe included thyme, parsley and a bay leaf.

Baked Pommes Frites
Adaptable--I wasn't measuring or watching times, but this is one you can probably figure out yourself.

Potatoes (I used fingerling, but the original recipe is written for russet potatoes)
Olive Oil (the ratio from SmittenKitchen is 6 Russets:1/4 c oil)
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400.
2. Cut your potatoes so they measure about 1/2" x 1/2".
3. Boil the potatoes until a knife goes through easily.
4. Drain the potatoes, toss with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper.
5. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and pop in the oven until golden brown, turning them once after ten or so minutes (it takes awhile--I wasn't as patient as I should have been, but the fries still got nice and crispy on the outside).

1 comment:

Ben Masters said...

The other day I was at Good Stuff Eatery in DC (amazing place!) and I had french fries with rosemary and thyme in addition to the standard salt and pepper. I highly recommend it, if you don't think it will clash with whatever you're pairing them.

I hope Cleveland's treating you alright!