Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mussel Up

DB~'s favorite restaurant is Point Brugge in Point Breeze. Nearly every time she eats lunch with her aunt, this is the place they go. Point Brugge is probably the most underrated restaurant in the city -- you never hear about or see any advertisements about it, but it is constantly filled to the gills with people waiting outside (sometimes the wait is 1 hour plus).

Point Brugge is a Belgian themed place, with their speciality being mussels served with pomme frites (french fries, basically). I've always asked DB~ if she would like me to make her mussels here at home, but she has always demurred.

I decided this past Sunday to "surprise" her and make us mussels for dinner. I say surprise because I can never surprise her and she guessed it when I told her I was going to make her a special dinner. A little frustrating sometimes.

I did some research ahead of time and it turns out that mussels are a real pain to get ready to cook. If you get them fresh, they are actually still alive, which was a shock to me. I thought it was like shrimp or crabs, but inside those little black shells is a living...mussel, I guess. So if you get them fresh you should put them in water so they can take in the water and filter out sand inside. They also have little fuzz that needs to be sometimes cleaned off, too.

I'm not one to shy away from work when preparing food, but when DB~ found a 2 lb bag of fresh frozen mussels at Wholey's for the same price as fresh, fresh mussels in a 2 lb bag...well, that's an easy choice.

I went with a Mussels Provencal recipe. Here's what I did:
Diced 1 shallot
Diced 1/2 white onion
Sauteed the shallot and onion in 3 tbsp butter in a deep saucepan

Diced 2/3 cup of celery
Diced 1/2 cup of red pepper
Once the shallots and onion were soft, I added the celery and red pepper plus 1 cup of wine to the saucepan and stirred it up.
Put a sprinkle of black pepper over top

Once that mingled together over medium-high heat, I added 1 lb of mussels to cover the base of the saucepan then covered with a lid. After 6-8 minutes, the mussels popped open (indicating they were cooked) and I took them out with a slotted spoon.

I put the mussels into bowls and poured the wine and vegetable broth (plus the veggies) over top of them.

I cooked the 2nd lb of mussels the same way, just added a little more wine to the pan to replace what was poured out.

The mussels were tender and tasty, but like chicken wings of the sea. You only get a tiny amount of meat from each one, but it was kind of fun to pluck them out with a fork and watch them float in the broth.

Next time I might try a coconut milk red curry broth as something different for my squiggle.

1 comment:

  1. You are predictable and I am smart. A dangerous combo. You are an excellent chef, though! The mussels were muscularly delicious. ~