photographs by Melissa Placzek
~mussels in white wine~
We made these yesterday afternoon and sipped vino while we did a photo shoot out on the deck. It was sunny and warm while we took pictures, and we were finally able to enjoy the fresh air without wearing jackets. I’m having so much fun learning about photography, and Jeff is an excellent teacher.
This recipe was adapted from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Summertime Food by Miriam Ungerer. It will serve two people as a main course or four for appetizers.
1 pound large mussels
1 cup dry white wine
1 onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, split
a handful of parsley, chopped
2 Tablespoons softened butter
2 Tablespoons flour
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Scrub the mussels under cold running water until they are shiny and clean. Pry out the mossy “beard.” Put the wine, onion, bay leaf peppercorns, garlic and parsley into a large, shallow kettle with a cover. Add the mussels, no more that 2 deep in the pot. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and cover. After 2 minutes of steaming, stir the top layer of mussels down to the bottom of the pot so they cook evenly. Steam until the mussels just open (this should take no more than 5 minutes.) Don’t overcook or they’ll become rubbery. Discard any mussels that don’t open during steaming.
Strain juices through a cheesecloth lined strainer into a saucepan. You should have about 3 or 4 cups of liquid if you are using fresh mussels. If you are using frozen, pre-cleaned mussels, you will want to add a little chicken or fish stock to the pot to equal 3-4 cups. Start to bring to a boil while you make and brown your roux.
Make a roux:
In a separate, small saucepan, combine the butter and flour. Using a wire whisk, over low heat, slowly heat the roux while stirring constantly. It’s done when it turns golden brown. Vigorously stir your browned roux into the boiling wine mixture. It should thicken a little. Adjust salt and pepper.
Put about a dozen mussels in a shallow soup plate with a chunk of toasted French bread. Pour the soup over all. Garnish with parsley. Serve very hot.