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Mussels in White Wine Sauce

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Serves 2 - - - 1 lb mussels per person

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Ingredients

  • 2 lb live mussels
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 chopped scallions or 1 chopped shallot
  • 2 chopped green garlic shoots or 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • Crusty French or Sourdough bread slices

Details

Preparation

Step 1

1. Scrub and debeard the mussels. The "beard" is the fibrous hairy thing hanging from one side of the tasty bivalve. Pull it off with a side-to-side motion.
(Note: a mussel is alive if it reacts. Its shell should be closed. If it is open, sit the mussel on the kitchen couter for a bit. It may close when you are not looking.)

2 20 to 30 minutes before cooking, place the cleaned mussels in a bowl of very cold water. This will help extract grit.

3. Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large, wide-bottomed pot with a lid; I use a Dutch oven.

4. Saute the shallot or green onion until it is soft but not browned. Add the garlic cloves if using -- if you are using green garlic, leave it out for now.

5. Add the white wine (a chenin blanc or something crisp, but you can use any decent white), and bring it to a boil. Add the mussels in one layer if possible.

6. Cover the pot and let the mussels steam for 3-8 minutes. After three minutes, check the mussels; many should be open. You want them all open, but some will do this faster than others.

7. As soon as most of the mussels are open, turn off the heat and toss in the green garlic, if using. Cover for a minute while you prepare bowls and plates.

8. Spoon out plenty of mussels and broth, which should be briny enough to not need any more salt. Throw out any mussels that did not open. Serve with crusty bread, more white wine -- and an extra bowl for the shells.

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