Mussels are not only sustainable and reasonably priced they are also easy; they really are a “fast food.” Do not be intimidated! You just need to know how to clean them: start by rinsing them a few times in cold water and then soaking them in the cold water for at least 20 minutes, this helps to get the grit out. Make sure to go over every mussel to make sure that they are closed(discard any open ones) and then scrub the mussels and remove any beards.
Mussels are a romantic meal for my man and I. We had one of our first dates at Cafe Brussels, a charming albeit retro Belgian place in the West Village which has since closed. Funny, how New York is forever changing, no? I can not decide which I like better, the mussels with their delicious broth or the crispy french fries. For a home-style version of the bistro classic I like to oven fry the potatoes in olive oil. They get really crispy too! The secret? A glass baking pan and an hour cook time at 375 degrees.
Steamed mussels with oven-baked olive oil fries
For the mussels
- I sauteed 3-4 tablespoons of butter in a 6 quart pot
- then I minced 4 cloves of garlic and
- 1/4 of an onion or one shallot and sauteed them until soft and translucent
- then in a large pot I added 2 pounds of cleaned mussels
- 1/2 cup of white wine and brought the pot to a boil
- and then steamed them for about 10 minutes.
For the olive oil potato fries:
My mother uses olive oil in everything. Her olive oil baked potatoes are a summer time staple and are perfect for a quick meals like hamburgers.
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds russet potatoes, cut up into eighths.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt ( or to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Cut up potatoes into eights by cutting them in half, and then in fourths, when you are cutting them into eights cut them into wedges at an angle.
- add olive oil and a bit of salt and freshly ground pepper, toss.
- The secret is a thick roasting pan(she uses a glass Pyrex) and she bakes them for about an hour at 375 and tosses them a few times.