Tuesday, August 11, 2009

#5: Fried Mussel Po' Boys with Spicy Aioli

I wanted to change things up a little, so for my fifth recipe, I decided to try something aside from simply steaming the mussels. Like any sane person, I love fried stuff, so I thought I would make mussel po' boys. I used Mario Batali's recipe for cozze frite as a rough guide for deep frying the mussels (it was the first result listed for my Google search), and the Joy of Cooking's aioli recipe as the basis for my slightly spicy aioli. Here is an approximation of what I actually did:

2 lbs. Mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 cup All-purpose flour
2 Eggs
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 cups Olive Oil
1 loaf Soft french bread
6 leaves Romaine lettuce
2-3 Scallions, sliced into thin rings
1 Lemon
1 cup Spicy aioli (recipe below)

1) Steam mussels in 2 cups of water in a large pot on high heat just long enough for them to open (2-3 minutes).

2) Strain the mussels and use a fork to remove their meat. Avoid using your fingers to do this, as it can crush the meat.

3) Beat the eggs in a bowl, and combine the flour and salt in another bowl.

4) Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until the oil just begins to smoke. Turn the heat down to medium.

5) Dredge the mussels in flour, and then wash them in eggs. Try to let any excess egg run off to avoid having the mussels clump together.

6) Gently drop the mussels in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown. Remove with a slotted or mesh spoon to a plate covered in paper towels.

7) Cut bread into 8 inch portions and slice down one side. Lay 1-2 leaves of lettuce at the bottom of the sandwich. Spread the top liberally with aioli. Pile on the mussels and sprinkle with lemon juice and scallions.

Spicy Aioli Recipe:

2 Egg yolks
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup Olive oil
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Ancho chili powder (not spicy)
1/2 tsp. Paprika
1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. Cold water
1 tsp. Lemon juice

1) Whisk together egg yolks, garlic, salt, and spices in a large bowl.

2) While continuously whisking vigorously, very slowly add olive oil. After 5-10 minutes of excruciatingly slow drizzling of olive oil and intense whisking, the aioli should thicken.

3) Whisk in cold water and lemon juice.

I very much enjoyed drinking a Jever Pilsener with my po' boy. Jever is a particularly hoppy North German pilsener. Its bitterness helped to accentuate the sweetness of the mussels.


  1. Okay, here's are some ideas from Page and Dornenburg's Flavor Bible:

    Spaghetti with mussels, pine nuts, nutmeg, and parsley (from Barton Seaver, Hook restaurant, Washington, DC),

    Mussels in a spicy sauce of panca peppers, garlic, cliantro, and Peruvian dark beer (from Maricel Presilla, Chucharamama, Hoboken, NJ),

    Pork belly, mussels, potatoes, and black olives in a savory aji panca and dark beer sauce (also Maricel Presilla), and

    Steamed black mussels, coconut broth, and red curry oil (from Rick Tramonto, Tru, Chicago).


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