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Mussels with White Wine Sauce

Thursday, August 20, 2009
Mussels with White Wine Sauce

I raise here my protest in defense of mussels. Would someone please explain how it began the bad reputation that afflicts them? Ugly as a mussel. Excuse me, could you please repeat? (Ugly as a mussel is a common Italian expression, and it's used only for women, of course....)
Rumour has it that it's the freshly caught mussels that are ugly. Is that true? Who knows. Unfortunately I've never had the pleasure of seeing them. And I really wish that in this precise moment, instead of publishing useless bloggish lucubrations putting up with my monitor's blue radiations, again, I wish I could close my eyes and find myself sitting outdoors at the pier of a remote Mediterranean island, watching the fishermen coming back from the sea and exchanging opinions on their black haul.

And then, mussels may not be really beautiful right after being caught, but tell me the truth, who feels at their best in the morning right after waking up, before coffee, make-up, hair fixing and manicure?
Black-purplish shell, bright concentric veins and pearly inside. I bet you're already reconsidering them. Soft and seductive body. Perfect black-orange color pairing, to such an extent that one would think Domenico e Stefano (aka Dolce & Gabbana) didn't create anything new. And then mussels are too much fun: so easy and fast to cook, they always make an impression. Even as simple as these ones, that go only with their own juice and two slices of toasted bread.
You're ugly and mean as a mussel. I beg your pardon?

Mussels with White Wine Sauce
for 2 people

fresh mussels 1 lb.
white wine about 1/2 cup
olive oil, garlic, shallot, salt, pepper, parsley, butter

Clean the mussels, discard the beard and brush them very well. Transfer to a large bowl and mix them with one tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, minced parsley, one garlic clove, thinly sliced, and a little bit of minced shallot (optional).
Heat a large pan on the stove and when it's really hot pour the mussels with all their dressing in it. Shake the pan for few seconds, add the wine and cover immediately with a lid. Cook at high heat for 2 or 3 minutes, until mussels start to open. As soon as they open, take them out of the pan and transfer to a serving bowl. Discard the ones that didn't open. Add a tablespoon of butter to the leftover juice, reduce by cooking it for few minutes. Pour juice over the mussels and serve them with slices of toasted bread.
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