>> Thursday, October 20, 2011
Hands down Asian food has always been my go to cuisine of choice when I’m in a bind for time. Maybe because it falls within my comfort zone, but a bit of soy, fish or oyster sauce can never do any wrong in my books. However, after our recent Asia trip, I’ve found that I do miss European or Western food. I guess you can get too much of a good thing after all. So it’s nice to be able to mix things up and that’s just what we did over the past weekend, which included a bit of Italian, Spanish and of course….French.
The best thing about French cooking is the sauces. Being able to grab some bread and use it to sop up all the extra broth or sauce at the bottom of a dish is of my favourite things to do (plus I’m a carboholic). Plus, it really does add that extra element to your meal, making it more tactile. Nothing like engaging all your senses right?
Since I wanted something fast, simple, tasty and sop worthy. Mussels popped in to my head. They cook extremely fast, goes great with wine and the broth unquestionably requires some bread. I chose Provencal styled mussels, with white wine, lots of garlic and onions plus a bit of spice. For those who find mussels a bit fishy, the garlic will put that to rest.
Nutritional Tidbit: Garlic has long been used in all forms of cooking as a flavour enhancer, but it does a lot more than just that. There has been studies demonstrating the use of garlic to prevent the common cold due to its high level of sulphides. Since those compounds are considered antioxidants, eating more garlic over time increases the health benefits. The best way to release those healthy compounds from the garlic is to chop or crush the garlic. The more you do so the greater the reward, plus, you’ll get more garlic flavour as well.
There are quite a few different variations of this dish online, but here’s my take on it. Hope you enjoy!
1 tbsp butter
½ onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped (or more if you want it really garlicky)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp crushed red peppers
2 lbs fresh mussels, cleaned and scrubbed
Parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and Pepper
Lemon wedges (optional)
Melt the butter on medium heat and add in the onions and garlic, cook until the onions become translucent (roughly 5 mins).
Pour in the white wine, followed by the chicken broth. Add in the bay leaves and crushed red peppers.
Once the liquid boils, add in the mussels and tomatoes (if using, I prefer them without). Put on the lid and let the mussels cook for 5-10 mins. Watch for when the mussels start to open.
When the mussels are done, remove them from the pot and turn the stove up to high to reduce the sauce. Add salt and pepper to the broth to taste and pour over the mussels.
Sprinkle chopped parsley on top with wedges of lemon and enjoy!