1 post from day 09/01/2012

Fresh Pappardelle with PEI Mussels, Smoked Chorizo, Mushrooms & Tomato in a Saffron Broth

Preparing mussels at home has always intimidated me. I'm not exactly sure why; I've done pretty well at my first attempts at Beef Wellington and Risotto Tortes, so why would the thought of preparing mussels at home frighten me? Well, foodborn illness, for one. Overcooking them, for another. A laundry list of potential failures threatened my never-attempted mussels for years and years. Until I swallowed my fears and went for it anyway. On New Year's Eve 2011. And then again on New Years Day 2012. Dare I say that now I'm slightly addicted? To help clear the air about how to handle mussels and remove the fear, there are really only a few things you need to know before you start: *Scrub the mussels well under running cold water to remove any barnacles, etc. A very stiff cleaning brush comes in handy for this. *Tap on any mussels that are open (they responded quicker/more fervently using the back of the cleaning brush), and if they don't close, discard them. *Any mussel with a broken shell should be tossed out. *Each mussel has a beard which you can find sticking out of the side. Pull this out in a back and forth wiggling motion to ensure you get it all off. *Once the mussels are cooked, the shells should be open. Any mussels that are close at this point should not be eaten. I think the most important step to note is to not soak the mussels in water, and to not *accidentally* turn the tap water to warm and leave them for any amount of time in slightly tepid water. Because that might cause you to freak out and think you ruined your *entire* New Years Eve dinner when they all open and you think they've all gone belly up. Fear not, though! One rather strong rap on the shell with the back of the cleaning brush will quickly have those mussels closing up shop and you can then proceed to make this meal. Which is delicious, by the way. And quick! Continue Reading