Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mussels Marinara

I had never cooked mussels before this meal. Clams, sure, but never mussels. I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe because of the scrubbing off of beards and such, tho you still need to wash clams before cooking them, and get them to expel their sand and grit, etc...
No clue.
But, this week I decided to make some simple mussels mariana. And no, Mike did not eat it, what with his refusal to eat shellfish.
More for me.
I started with the usual culprits of diced shallot in evoo, followed by a few cloves of minced garlic. I believe I used about three.
I then added about half a cup of white wine, along with a pinch or two of red pepper flakes. I let this simmer and reduce down to almost nothing.
I then added a large can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes, some dried oregano and salt, and let the sauce simmer away.
After scrubbing and rinsing the mussels, I tossed them in the sauce pot and put on the lid. I'd say I cooked them for about 7 minutes, at which point all the shells had opened. I know I did not overcook them, because they were tender and tasty. I am guessing I did not undercook them, as I was not ill in the following hours or days.
After they were all opened, I removed the mussels to a bowl so the hubs would be able to eat some of the meal.
At the same time I'd been making the marinara, I was boiling water for the linguine. One minute before the pasta was done cooking, I added it to the sauce to finish cooking. Top with a chiffonade (or torn) basil, and recombine with your shellfish. 
(Unless you're serving it to my hubs, in which case you would plate his first, and then add the mussels only to your bowl, to avoid tainting his next meal in case of leftover pasta.)

Sorry I don't have a "finished dish" shot, but it was a rather haphazard cooking experiment, and I just didn't have a chance to take the picture. Plus, cold shellfish is not where it's at. At least not for me.

A note about mussels:
When you buy mussels, just like clams, some of them may be open. There are 3 ways I know of to make a mussel close, provided it is still alive.
1 - gentle pressure, and the shell should close
2 - a gentle tap against the counter top
3 - rinse in cold fresh water

If you mussel still won't close, throw it away. Same goes for after cooking. If you have a mussel or clam that did not open, or only opened a tiny bit, throw it away.
Bad shellfish is NOT something you want to play around with. Believe me.
Luckily this dish was delicious to both parties devouring it.


Andi said...

I love your blogs... sometimes I feel like we are living the same life in different cities... I am in Chicago... married (although I work as an attorney)... my hubs also will not eat shellfish... ever... I love to cook... I love to blog about cooking... and I don't know about you, but even when I'm not blogging about my food... I still obsessively photograph it. Weird.

RocknRollGourmet said...

Thank you!

Tho I must say that photographing my food is my least favorite part. I much prefer the actual cooking and then eating of the food.
Which is why I frequently make something off the cuff, and when it turns out well, curse that I didn't think to take pictures, so can't write about it.
(Well, I can, but it's much more entertaining with pictures...)

Maybe someday I can get the hubs to stop playing video games while I cook and get him to take some of the pictures... ;)

Jennifer said...

I've started using kosher salt in my bread dough and chocolate chip cookies. It makes everything ever so much better, and makes me think of you.