Friday, March 19, 2010

Steamed New Zealand Mussels

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To finish up our week of New Zealand inspired dishes, here's a classic recipe for steamed mussels using New Zealand mussels. My friend Kelly prepared this dish for our Wine & Dine event and they were a hit! In fact, this dish is often seen in many French restaurants as a popular appetizer.

The key to this recipe is really starting out with fresh mussels. You can certainly substitute with frozen ones but there is a difference when fresh is used. With fresh mussels, the texture is not as tough and I think it really absorbs the flavor of the wine and butter even more. But if fresh isn't available, frozen will do...


Steamed New Zealand Mussels

2 tablespoons butter
2  shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 stalks of fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground black pepper
crusty bread to serve with

Melt the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan, add the shallots or onion and cook gently for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, bay leaf and parsley stalks and cook for another minute.
 
Pour in the wine and bring to a rapid boil. Add the mussels, all at once, and immediately cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Cook over a moderate heat, shaking the pan occasionally for 3–5 minutes until the mussels have opened. Discard the bay leaf, parsley stalks and any mussels that have not opened.  

Strain the cooking juices through a fine-meshed sieve into a small saucepan. Add the crème fraîche or cream and 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley and boil for 1–2 minutes to reduce slightly. Season with black pepper.  

Transfer the mussels to a warmed serving dish or individual bowls. Pour over the hot sauce, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve straight away with slices of bread.

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