Cover and cook 5 minutes or until mussels open; discard any unopened shells. Add tomatoes, stock (or clam juice), saffron, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Soak up the sauce with plenty of crusty whole-grain baguette. Season to taste with pepper. Remove half of mussels from shells. Meanwhile, keep 8 mussels in shells and remove remaining mussels from shells. Serve immediately. Clean 2 pounds (1 kilo) of fresh mussels under cold running water, begin by removing the beard from each mussel and then scrubing them clean, I like to use a butter knife to scrub the mussels, as you clean each mussel add them to a bowl and set aside, finely mince 4 cloves of garlic, finely dice 1/2 of an onion and finely chop a handful of fresh parsley Saffron, tomato and a touch of cream yields a flavorful sauce for these simple steamed mussels. Drain mussels well and mix with saffron mayonnaise. Allow to mussels to sit in the liquid for 1 hour to disgorge any sand. Put the mussels in a large bowl full of water with a large handful of ice and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Lift mussels out of bowl, leaving flour and sand behind. Ladle warm broth over vegetables and mussels. Add saffron; sauté 15 seconds. Heat the oil in a large pan (or two pans if you don’t have one big enough to fit all the Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the mussels to the pot, discarding any that do not close to the touch. Add wine, cream, lemon juice, saffron and capers and boil until liquid thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, whipping cream, and clam juice; bring to a boil. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the broth is aromatic, 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion to pan; sauté 1 minute. Add the shallots and garlic. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in mussels. Add mussels to pan. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Sauté until shallots are soft, about 5 minutes. Allow saffron to steep for 15 minutes, then strain hot liquid into mayonnaise and mix well. This recipe is easily scaled up; plan on a pound of mussels per person for a first course, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds for an entree. Spoon vegetables evenly into shallow serving bowls. Serves 4 as an appetizer 1 cup chicken stock 1 teaspoon saffron threads Add all mussels to soup and stir in chopped parsley, salt, pepper and cream. To make saffron seasoning, bring to boil 1/2 cup of cooking liquid that mussels were sitting in and pour 1 1/2 tablespoons over saffron in small dish. Place 3 shelled mussels and 3 unshelled mussels on top of vegetables. Heat through 2-3 minutes. Even without the saffron, this is a delicious dish, but the saffron adds a luxuriousness that I love. Add the wine and chicken stock to the pot and crumble in the saffron threads.


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