Pining For… Substance

Delightfully Maladjusted

One sauce two dinners

I must admit I am a bit intimidated to cook with seafood. I always look longingly at the bounty of fresh seafood when we go to Pike Place market, but I never buy any because of two things: cost and inexperience. I am afraid I will ruin it, and because some seafood is pricey, I would feel even more defeated if things went wrong. I make fish on occasion, but shellfish is where I get nervous in the kitchen. I finally decided to give it a go with mussels. Mussels are not too expensive (4.99 per pound at my local grocery store), and depending on where you live, they may be locally farmed. In my case mussels are farmed about an hour north in Penn Cove, but I am fortunate to live in the bountiful Puget Sound. If this is not an option for you, try to purchase mussels that have been produced in the USA (if you live here, of course).

Mussels are a good choice for anyone who wants to take baby steps with cooking shellfish. They are inexpensive, easy and quick. Here is the recipe I followed from submitter Pati at allrecipes.com.

Dinner 1-What you need:

  • 50 fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped (I used cherry tomatoes)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • crusty bread
    * My additions: 1/4 teaspoon of Better than Bouillon lobster base and dash of Holland House white wine with lemon, shake or two of red pepper flake
  1. Place mussels in a large bowl with cold water to cover. Let them soak for about 20 minutes to remove any dirt or sand.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and saute for one minute, but do not brown. Add the chopped green onion and tomatoes, and cook until almost tender. Pour in the white wine, and stir in the parsley and butter. Bring to a boil, and allow to boil until the liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the mussels to the pot, cover and allow to cook until the shells are opened, about 10 minutes. Transfer the mussels and sauce to a large serving bowl, discarding any unopened shells.

The mussels I purchased at the grocery store were already cleaned and debearded- all I did was give them a soak to get any extra grit off the outside.

The recipes makes a lot of sauce, so much that I was able to use it again in a different dish the next night.

Dinner 2- What you need:

Leftover mussel sauce from dinner 1

other half of crusty French bread or whichever bread you used

1/2 box of pasta (angel, thin or regular spaghetti)

1 can of white clam sauce

1 can or jar of fancy clams

tablespoon of sherry

2 cloves garlic, pressed

How to:

simply cook your pasta and reheat your sauce and add the additional ingredients, mix together and top with fresh parsley

serve hot with warm bread, delicious!

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