In a professional kitchen, the French saying a la minute (pronounced ma-newt), means “to the minute”. It refers to dishes that are cooked quickly for the guest once they are ordered – and not a moment sooner. This approach also comes in handy when your family is pacing about waiting for dinner. But the trick to cooking fresh food real quick like is having a plan. And with mussels, this boils down to three musts.
With these blue-shelled beauties – which by the way are sustainable because they are (mostly) farmed with care off American coastlines – it’s pretty simple. Beards removed, hot pan, tasty broth. Serve with love.
The fastest way to remove the beards – the fuzzy little bit at the mouth of the mussels – is to soak the mussels in cold, heavily salted water and clean them one by one. And yes, quickly so they don’t perish.
Beware the beards are stubborn, and often require a good, hard pull. After the mussels are cleaned, all it takes is a little bit of shallot, a lot of white wine and a two minute steam in a huge pot….
Then voila! Dinner a la minute, and an earth and figure friendly one at that. I’d tell you the most delicious way to sop up the steaming broth is with french fries, but that would make me a hypocrite. So this time, instead of what the French enjoy as moules frites, the recommendation is toasted baguette. Think of it as the job your family can do instead of pacing through the kitchen every minute.
- 2 pounds fresh mussels, cleaned of beards (discard any that are open)
- 2 cups dry white wine, Sauvignon Blanc or Muscadet recommended
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- ¼ cup Sopressata salami, sliced thin
- ½ cup Roma tomato, seeds removed, small dice
- 2 Tbs green onions, sliced thin
- 6 pieces French baguette, sliced into ¼-inch thick toast points
- In a very large pot, combine wine, shallots, garlic and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer until wine is reduced by half. If desired, strain liquid to remove shallots and garlic.
- Over high heat, add mussels and wine reduction (if strained) and cover. If not straining liquid, simply add mussels over high heat and cover pot. Cook for a couple of minutes, just until mussels begin to open. Add Sopressata and tomatoes, and cook another minute.
- Serve with toasted bread, evenly distributing broth between bowls. Garnish with green onions. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Sadie Mae’s Dogtography
A full-on lick of the bowl. Can’t deprive a dog of a fun Friday night.