Monday, August 17, 2009
#6: Mussels with Butter, Garlic, Lemon and Paprika
After formulating recipes involving pancetta and deep-frying, I wanted to make something lighter. Garlic seemed like a good ingredient to build a recipe around, and what better to accompany it than a half-stick of butter? I drew on two culinary experiences to create this simple recipe. The first was a trip that my family took to Kribi, a beach town in Cameroon. I recall sharing a huge platter of shrimp with my family, and if I remember correctly, they were doused in oil, butter, paprika (or something close to it) and enormous amounts of garlic. Getting my fingers covered with oily garlicky goodness was a lot of fun.
But what about this recipe being on the lighter side? I had already decided to use a large amount of butter and I was certainly not going to change my mind. So something had to be done to freshen the dish up a little. This brought me to the second memory that played a role in this recipe, making a nice gremolata to top off some awesomely rich osso bucco alla milanese. This traditional Italian garnish went a long way to balance out the extreme richness of the meat. Incorporating the ingredients of the gremolata into this mussel dish helped to keep it, at least superficially, light and fresh. Because of the fresh, citrusy nature of this dish, I chose to pair it with a Belgian-style witbier. Ommegang Witte was a very good match. Without further ado:
4 lbs. Mussels, cleaned and debearded
12-16 cloves Garlic, minced
Zest of 2 medium lemons
Juice of aforementioned lemons
4 tbsp. Butter
1 tbsp. Olive oil
1 cup Parsley, chopped
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Dry white wine
1) Melt butter with oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
2) Add garlic and lemon zest. Saute 2 minutes
3) Add 1/2 cup parsley, salt, paprika, and a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper. Cook 2 minutes.
4) Turn heat up to high. Add lemon juice and white wine. Simmer for 1-2 minutes
5) Add mussels, cover pot, and steam for 6 minutes.
Garnish with parsley and lemon slices. Serve with hearty bread and a Belgian wit.