I soaked them in a salty solution (1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup corn meal per 1 quart water) for a few hours in the fridge -- a trick I learned from James Peterson's Fish book. This creates an environment similar to their natural habitat and makes them filter out the sand if they are holding any. Then I yanked out the beards, scrubbed and rinsed the mussels and steamed them the usual way. The Fore Street addition were the almonds. I know that almonds and mussels sound like a wacky combination, but they are amazingly good together.
Carl was right as always. These mussels were briny and sweet. But as much as I like mussels, I can't deny that the best part of any mussel dish is the steaming liquid. And where would the steaming liquid be without the bread? Well, was I lucky today or what. Jason made another batch of baguettes and these were not only the best baguettes he's ever made, but the best baguette I've ever had in Boston. Perfectly brittle crust, chewy and airy interior, and look at those holes! With some crispy potatoes, this was an awesome meal.
Moules Frites (Steamed Mussels) with Almonds
Serves 4 as appetizer / 2 as main
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped almonds (untoasted)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
2 Lb mussels
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Saute shallots in oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat stirring occasionally until tender, 4-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and almonds and saute until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the wine and water, turn up the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
- Add the mussels, cover, and steam just until mussels open, about 5 minutes.
- Remove mussels to warm serving bowl, discarding unopened ones.
- Add parsley to the liquid left in the pot, and swirl in the butter. Pour over mussels and serve with great crusty bread.