Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Check Out These Mussels!

My First Attempt!

So, growing up, I dislike seafood. As a matter of fact, I hated it. It drove The Parents insane. They couldn't understand it. Which says something, since each of my siblings and I have issues with what many people would consider "normal" foods. I LOATHE ham, as in the stuff you eat on Christmas, with the spiral and the cherries and the pineapple...not the expensive stuff like prosciutto, which drives The Husband insane (obviously) and smoked turkey. I hate smoked turkey so much that if I get a sandwich and it's on there, I'll pull off all of the turkey and eat the bread and the toppings. It's disgusting to me.  

My middle sister, The Lawyer, hates tomatoes and sausage. My youngest sister, The Dental Student hates beans and sausage and had a phase growing up where she put yellow mustard on everything. And I mean everything (corn, green  beans, salads) and my brother The Beer Geek had a phase where no one was allowed to touch his food. If it happened, he would pitch a fit and wouldn't eat it.

So it has to say something when The Parents were flabbergasted at my hatred of seafood. What makes matters even more interesting (and understandably confusing) was that at the ripe old age of 11, I realized I LOVED raw clams and oysters. I thought, and still do, that they were the closest thing to ambrosia we humans had and would slurp them up like a champ. However, if you cooked them, I'd refuse to eat them.

The Parent's love seafood. Over Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, we'd go to a friends lake house with a bushel of crabs and just eat that for 3 straight days.  On Christmas Eve, we had the traditional Italian dinner of Seven Fish. The Parents would get lobster and make Shrimp Cocktails and Shrimp Fra Diablo. We ate salmon and swordfish and shark (I did enjoy the shark and the swordfish as well...another conundrum).  If The Parents were serving fish,  I would make my own dinners or eat everything but the fish, I was that adamant about not eating it. 

So when I came back for Thanksgiving my freshman year of college  and told The Parent's, I'd like some shrimp, they fell over. I had refused it for so long, they didn't know what to do. And thus began my love affair with seafood.

However, for some reason, I held out on mussels. I'm not totally sure why, in retrospect, it makes no sense...but as The Husband can attest, many of the things I do don't always make the most sense.  But once I decided to give them a try, the damn was broken. If The Husband and I were out for dinner and there was mussels on the menu, there was a very good chance that I'd order them. The yummy broths, the crunchy bread, the delightful little morsels of shellfish, it was a win-win.

So this past August I decided I was going to try my hand at mussels, and it went well! And then I was a friends house and she and her husband made them, and they were delicious, so so good. So the second time I made them, I took some of the ingredients they used, took some ingredients I like, and boom! You have the delicious and REALLY simple recipe below.

I cut and toasted a baguette in the oven (since you should be dipping something in that divine sauce). The friends who's recipe I combined with one I found in Food and Wine and a Martha Stewart  recipe, made home-made Pomme Frites. They're more adventurous than I am. And honestly, I'd probably burn large parts of myself with the oil.  

For the sausage, the first time I used Andouille  the second time Chorizo. It just depends on the flavor you're looking for.


1 TBS Olive Oil
4 Shallots finely chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic finely chopped
1lb Fresh Chorizo, removed from the casing
15 Cherry Tomatoes cut in half
1  15 oz Can of Cannellini  Beans, drained
1 can of San Marzano Whole Tomatoes 
2lb Mussels, debearded
1 12oz bottle of lighter beer, I used Bells Oberon

Are you ready, cause this is really, really challenging.....

In a large, deep skillet, combine the olive oil with the garlic, shallots and chorizo and cook over medium-high heat, breaking the Chorizo up.  Take the San Marzano Tomatoes and crush them, I crush them with my hands, you can cut chop them up if you'd like, toss the all but 1/4 cup of the juice.

When the Chorizo is cooked, add the  San Marzano Tomatoes, the juice,  cherry tomatoes and crushed red pepper, season with salt and black pepper and cook until Tomatoes are warmed, about 3-5 minutes. 

Add the Cannellini beans, Mussels and Beer, cover and cook over high heat until the mussel shells open, about 3 minutes; discard any mussels that don’t open.

Transfer to a bowl and serve!

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