I remember about 10 years ago I had mussels for the first time in a nice restaurant in Florida and I thought they were just delicious. The broth, or the sauce, was very classic French and they served the mussels with a French Batard bread that was crunchy on the outside and nice and warm and chewy on the inside. I tried to recreate that dish and came up with the following recipe. I like to serve mussels over linguine, with a side of hericot verts.
- 2 lbs. fresh mussels
- 2 leeks
- 2 garlic cloves
- 5-6 springs of fresh thyme
- Olive Oil
- White Wine (I like Sauvignon Blanc)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- french bread
- hericot verts (french green beans)
Wash, scrub and remove “beards” from the mussels. If any of the mussels are slightly open, tap them and see if they’ll close. If they do, they’re alright. If not, you need to throw them away. Remember, mussels are live when you cook them. After you clean the mussels and remove the beards, keep refrigerated while you do your prep.
Prepare your pasta. Heat the water, and once it’s at a boil, add kosher salt then add your pasta and cook according to directions. In a large sauce pan, bring water to boil, and salt, and then blanch the green beans (cook for just 90 seconds) and remove the beans add them to an ice water bath to stop the cooking.
Trim the end off of the leeks, then cut the bottom portion (just the white part) and rinse under cold water. Then chop the leeks and set aside. Finely chop the two garlic gloves. Heat a heavy cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Coat the bottom with the olive oil and when it starts to get hot, add the chopped leaks, season with salt and pepper, and stir often while you saute the leeks for about 2 minutes. Add the sprigs of thyme and saute for another minute or so. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for another 30 seconds.
Now add a cup of white wine (dry is better and I like Sauvignon Blanc) and cook for a few more minutes. Remove mussels from the fridge, double check to make sure they are all closed. Then add mussels to the pot and cover. Turn down the heat slightly. Cook for about 9 minutes until all the mussels are opened. Add two tablespoons butter, and using a large spoon toss in the pot to coat the mussels in the white wine sauce.
Saute the green beans in olive oil and butter, season to taste and serve as your side dish.
In a bowl, add pasta then spoon mussels over the top adding a drizzle of good olive oil and serve with warmed french bread. The bread is awesome when you dip it into the sauce! I’m more of a red wine lover so I like to serve a nice red blend or a pinot noir with the mussels. Certainly a good dry white wine would be great as well.