Mussels in Cream, Shallots and Herbs (oh my!)

Okay, I’m not asking you to karate-chop a lobster, but ya just gotta try mussels. Take a deep breath, do a set of jumping jacks and tell yourself you’re a strong, adventurous eater and you’re ready to take the next step in your culinary life.

Plus the finished dish looks so dang impressive you’re mighty sure to wow your guests, husband or even kiddos with these delicious, delicate friends from the sea.

Just don’t let your kids name the mussels. We don’t want tears at the dinner table.

Mussels in Cream, Shallots and Herbs:

What it took for 2, for dinner, or 4 as an appetizer:

* 1 pound live mussels

* 1 shallot, finely diced

* 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

* 4 garlic cloves, minced

* 1 plum tomato, seeded and finely diced

* 1/2 cup dry vermouth

* 1 tsp fresh oregano

* 1 tsp fresh thyme

* 1 tsp smoked paprika

* 1/2 cup heavy cream

When you buy the mussels, put them in a bowl with ice and cover with a damp towel and place in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

Take each mussel and rinse under cool water and scrub the shells lightly with a scrubber. If there is a beard sticking out of the shell, remove it.

Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high and add the oil. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and paprika. Bloom 30 seconds. Add the vermouth and cook 2 minutes. Toss in the herbs and tomatoes. Finely stir in the cream.

Add the mussels and cover the pan. Cook roughly 5 minutes, shaking the pan every minute or so. When the mussels are cooked, the shells will open.

Serve with a spinach salad and crusty bread! Your loved one will be so impressed. I promise.

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