Sometimes the simplest joys are the greatest. Take today, a dreary rainy/sleety rare Monday off work. My big plans for the day were to clean my apartment, go to the bank, make a return at Home Depot and do a bit of grocery shopping on the way back. So exciting, right? Except that it kind of was, but only in a way a true foodie could appreciate.
As I passed by the seafood counter at my local Whole Foods on steroids, a bag of shiny black mussels caught my eye. I love mussels but rarely make them. In fact, I don’t think I’ve made them since taking advanced fish in culinary school (and yes, that’s a real class that I had nightmares about for months after completing). But today I was being called to them; I just had to buy some.
I bought one pound, which seemed like the right amount for me to enjoy for a late lunch, and grabbed a bottle of Spanish dry white wine that a sales associate recommended along with some fresh thyme and a small baguette. It had been so long since I made this that I couldn’t remember exactly what to put in the broth, but that seemed like the right place to start.
When I got home I consulted a few of my favorite cookbooks and found two recipes similar to what I remembered, one in Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table and the other in an old notebook from class, both emulating the traditional method for steaming mussels that resulted in a delicious and super simple dish.
One thing I wanted to point out was that I didn’t use any pepper in the mussels. Not using pepper on shellfish is one of those ingrained lessons from that same advanced fish class that gave me nightmares, and one I still follow to a tee.
The only place I went wrong was that I didn’t toast the baguette. I was so eager to eat that I let that part go. Please don’t make the same mistake – toast your bread and use it sop up all the delicious broth!
Here’s how I made Super Simple Steamed Mussels: