The other day, I came out of a massage and while walking back to my car in a state of bliss, I came upon a shop, The Spice & Tea Exchange, that I had not seen before. Of course I wandered in in my heady haze and was so excited to find a beautiful little shop with colorful jars of spices lining the walls.
(photo from http://www.spiceandtea.com)
Turns out they source spices from all over and also do some custom spice blends in house. I could definitely get myself in trouble in a place like this! Apparently my massage loosened up the knots in my back as well as my purse strings, as I found myself greedily nabbing quite a few packets of fragrant spices, including saffron, thai curry, and truffle salt, and scheming about what I could make!
Coincidentally, I had just been daydreaming about doing something with mussels in a saffron broth, so I headed to the store and grabbed ingredients while visions of lush mussels swimming in a fragrant broth danced in my mind. I had never made mussels before, but I knew I wanted a clear broth with lots of flavor that we could soak up with some crusty bread. Mussels are such a wonderful dish full of ocean and texture that I never like any creamy sauce on top to hide the true nature of the sexy mollusk!
The recipe below was deemed “the best mussels I’ve ever had” by my boyfriend, so I think you guys will definitely enjoy cooking this up with your lovers or your friends! The broth is bursting with the subtle warmth of saffron against the feisty bite of curry, all rounded out with the bright exclamation of parsley in the mix. This dish is meant to be served in a large, shallow bowl to allow everyone to dig in together. Get your hands dirty, fight for the succulent orange morsels of flesh peeking out between the yielding black shells, and sop up every last bit of the flavor in the bowl. This is a meal for visceral consumption. I dare you to not feel the love when eating it!
Servings: 2 entree, 4 appetizer
- 1.5 lbs live mussels
- 3 shallots
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 roma tomatoes
- 1 bunch parsley
- 4 TB butter
- 1.5 cup white wine
- 1 tsp saffron
- 1 TB thai curry blend (contains pepper, cumin seed, onion, garlic, coriander, lemongrass, cilantro, paprika, sea salt, chili flakes, ginger), I think you could substitute curry powder for a slightly different flavor
- 1 loaf crusty bread
- Salt, pepper to taste
- Place the saffron in 1/2 cup of the white wine.
2. Finely dice shallots & garlic; Medium dice the tomatoes; Coarsely chop the parsley;
3. Wash and debeard the mussels. Debearding kills the mussel, so it’s best to do this right before cooking, or get a friend to help out while you are prepping!
4. In a large pot, heat 1 TB butter till melted and cook the shallots, garlic on medium until fragrant, about 3 min.
5. Pour the saffron infused wine into the pot. Add another cup of wine and heat to boiling.
6. Add 3 TB butter and stir to melt. Add curry powder and stir. Taste & add salt 1/2 tsp at a time until the flavor is right. I added about 1.5 tsp of salt.
7. Pour the mussels into the pot of broth and cover. Cook for 5 min.
8. Add the tomatoes and parsley and stir to distribute. Cover and cook for another 1 minute. You want the tomato maintain their freshness, so don’t overcook!
9. Remove from heat. Discard any unopened mussels and pour everything into a large bowl for serving.
10. Slice the bread and lightly toast in the oven on broil if desired. You can also just serve bread as is.
11. Pour a glass of the wine for everyone and dig in!