Steamed Mussels with White Wine and Fennel
April 9, 2011 § 5 Comments
My most devoted reader (my dad) knows how broke I am right now, yet here I am posting about mussels. I assure you, the bulk of my diet recently has been beans and leftovers from school, but I actually got super lucky this past weekend: my class was preparing mussels on Friday and since we are the last class of the day and, therefore, the week, we were allowed to take home all of the extra raw mussels so that they weren’t thrown away. Obviously, night class is where it’s at.
|wine and fennel|
After cleaning the mussels and discarding the dead/broken guys, I had two pounds of free (well, “free”, I do pay tuition) mussels! The recipe I used comes from Antonia Lofaso, my favorite Top Chef contestant ever and possibly my long lost sister (I wish), who made this dish on an episode of Top Chef: All-Stars where they were challenged to cook a component of a classic Italian menu. The other contestants, particularly the Italians, were annoyed that she won the challenge because they considered this a French dish, and perhaps an unimpressive one. Personally, I was impressed that the winning dish was something so simple.
|dried and fresh marjoram|
|raw mussels about to be steamed|
|and, they’re done.|
I made a couple changes just to avoid a huge grocery bill: I didn’t use fresh thyme and I only use a little bit of fresh marjoram. Um, that’s it. This dish is so simple, there isn’t much to change. You could use water rather than stock for the steaming if you would like, but getting a fairly cheap $10 bottle of wine for this dish is kind of worth it (be aware that there won’t be any left in the bottle for drinking). You could also vary the fat you use for sauteeing: she calls for 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil and 2 tbsp of butter so I imagine she wanted to focus on the flavor of the olive oil but raise the smoke point with butter. If you’re after more butter flavor, you could just use more butter or only butter.
|there was no time for quality photos|
Steamed Mussels with White Wine and Fennel:
adapted from Antonia Lofaso
– 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
– 2 tbsp butter
– 4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
– 1 tsp dried thyme
– 1 tsp dried marjoram
– 2 fennel bulbs, quartered and shaved thin(this is easy with a mandolin, but you can also use a vegetable peeler)
– 3 cups (approx 1 bottle) white wine
– salt to taste
– sugar to taste
– 2 lbs cleaned and unopened mussels
– 2 sprigs basil
– a few fresh marjoram leaves
Heat olive oil and butter in dutch oven. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, dried thyme and dried marjoram. Cook until aromatic. Add shaved fennel and cook until soft. Add white wine, salt and sugar and cook until the salt and sugar has dissolved – liquid should be at a low boil. Add mussels and top with herbs, cover the pan to steam. Cook over medium heat until mussels have opened, about 3-4 minutes, discarding any mussels that haven’t opened. Serve and enjoy.