Yield: four portions
- 2 lb. mussels, in shell, beards and barnacles removed
- 1/4 c. salted butter
- 2 tsp. garlic, chopped fine
- 1 Tbsp. shallots, chopped fine
- 1 each sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 each bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley
- 1 c. dry white wine
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 c. salted butter, melted
- 1/4 c. garlic, chopped fine
- 1 each French bread, cut into 3/4' spears
- 1/2 c. heavy cream (optional)
- 1 each egg yolk (optional)
- 1 lb. shrimp, shelled (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. salted butter, clarified (optional)
- 2 c. green leaf vegetable, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 c. root vegetable, small dice (optional)
- 1/2 c. Spanish onion, julienne (optional)
- 1/2 c. tomatoes, ripe, diced (optional)
- Prepare your mussels and wash them well. Discard any that are open or cracked. Cover with a towel and ice and keep refrigerated until you are ready to cook.
- Sweat the garlic and shallots in a large saucepot over medium heat. Add the mussels, herbs, wine and pepper. Cover and increase heat to medium high. The mussels will be done when the liquid comes to a boil and you see steam escaping from under the lid. They will open and release extra liquid. Try not to overcook them when they open because they will get tough.
- While the mussels are cooking, brush the bread with the garlic and butter and bake or broil until toasty.
- Serve the mussels (in the shell) arranged in soup dishes with the crusty bread and the cooking liquid (it can be thickened with the cream and egg mixture as described below) for dipping. Also, have a spoon and small fork, and an extra bowl for the shells.
- For the options:
The cooking liquid can be brought to a boil after all the mussels are removed. Combine the cream and egg with a whisk in a small bowl. Slowly add a little of the hot cooking liquid, whisking constantly. Turn off the heat under the cooking pan, and whisk the warm egg mixture into it. You should see it thicken slightly.
- Add shrimp with the mussels in the cooking process.
- Remove the mussels from their shells and discard. Sauté the root vegetables and onions in the butter. Add the greens and tomatoes and cook until just soft. Serve as a vegetable in the center of a soup dish with the mussels, broth and garlic bread.