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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Mussels Florentine

Ok, I will admit to you all now, that this is my very first time cooking mussels.  Or for that matter anything that started out alive before I cooked it.  I'm not sure how this will turn out, but I am sharing my experience with you, and hopefully this is a really good recipe, and I will continue making it past today.

Check that mussels are still alive.
I've read, watched Youtube videos, and watched TV chefs explain how to check if the mussels are alive.  If they are closed, they are alive.  If they are slightly open or open all the way prior to cooking, try to get them to close the shell by pressing down, or tapping them on the counter.  Done.

This pile appear to be alive and kicking.

And this pile may have kicked the bucket prior to me boiling them in liquid.

Problem was, some of the alive ones, by the time I finished sorting them opened up again, and so I had to re-check if they were still alive.

I think this part scared me more than checking if they were alive and cooking them.
Basically they have little "beards" that are used for sticking to rocks in the ocean.  They don't all have beards apparently, so any that I could find I pulled off.  You grab hold of it, and yank until it comes off. (Sounds painful, but supposedly isn't.) 

Scrub them clean and keep in fridge until ready to cook.  Scrubbing them is easy.  I was also told by the butcher where I bought them to put in water in the fridge before cooking.  However, when I watched a video of how to de-beard them, the chef said NOT to put them in water because fresh water doesn't have enough oxygen for them, and just to cover them with a damp cloth. 

Follow the recipe below to make Mussels Florentine.

Mussels Florentine

  • 1 pound fresh mussels
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
Cooking Directions
  1. In large pot or skillet (big enough to hold all the mussels) heat oil and cook onion and garlic until soft.
  2. Add chicken stock and white wine to pan and heat to boiling.
  3. Add spinach until heated through about 1 minute. 
  4. Add mussels, cover pot, and cook.  After 3 minutes, stir mussels and continue cooking until all are open, about another 2 minutes.
5.  Add butter until melted.
6.  Serve immediately

By the way.  This experiment - this novice's cooking of mussels - turned out really well.  I served with a side of Fettuccine Alfredo and the mussels were really good.

I'm making them again this week for a dinner with my girlfriends.  This time adding a bit of cream to the sauce. 

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