Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mussels in Wine, Mustard, and Saffron Broth

The other half was out of town on business a couple of nights ago. That always means that I get the kitchen to myself to whip something up that will satisfy my palate and my palate alone. I headed to Central Market to buy some mussels. It was cheaper to buy a two pound bag than the much smaller amount I needed for my single serving. That meant not only a delicious dinner, but also the opportunity to experiment with a couple of other recipes. I'll post them soon.

But here's the star of the evening. Supposedly from Thomas Keller's Bouchon restaurant, the broth is wonderfully complex, skipping from flavor to flavor and back again with every bite. It's beautifully lemon-yellow from the butter and mustard with flecks or orange saffron and bright green parsley throughout. (I'll admit that I've saved it and am going to use it to make what I imagine will be some awesome rice tomorrow night.)

Mussels in Wine, Mustard, and Saffron Broth
Makes 6 first-course servings.
(Note: It's easy to adjust quantities and make even, as I did, a single serving.)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup finely chopped shallots (about 4 large)
8 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups dry white wine
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I chickened out and used milk.)
3 pounds small mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots, garlic and thyme. Sprinkle with pepper. Sauté until shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in wine and mustard. Boil 2 minutes. Add saffron. Remove from heat and let steep 5 minutes.

Add cream and mussels to pot and return to boil. Cover and cook until mussels open, about 6 minutes. Mix in parsley. Season broth to taste with salt and pepper. Divide mussels and broth among 6 shallow bowls, discarding any mussels that do not open) and serve.

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