Mussels in Saffron Broth
Today’s hot, steaming dish makes a great meal to warm a winter evening... and it’s easy to make at the last minute.
The mollusks are steamed in white wine with vegetables and fresh herbs, yielding a richly flavorful broth that gets added to a blend of saffron, finely diced orange bell pepper, and crème fraîche (or light sour cream).
Serve in the broth in shallow bowls and add thinly cut oven-baked fries (carrots or parsnips) and a crusty loaf.
Mussels in Saffron and White Wine
Adapted from a recipe by Beatrice Peltre, the expat French food stylist and photographer behind La Tartine Gourmande… a wonderful culinary blog.
4 1/2 pounds Pacific Blue Mussels (about 75 mussels)
2 tablespoons butter
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, thinly sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine
1 organic bay leaf
1 small orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
Pinch saffron threads
Sea salt and organic black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup crème fraîche (or light sour cream)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Clean the frozen mussels under a cold tap; set aside. You could thaw the mussels—place them in cold water for 20 minutes in cold water before proceeding—but you needn’t.
- In a stock pot, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add half the onion with the celery, carrot, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of the wine, with the bay leaf and mussels.
- Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until all the mussels are opened*. Set aside off the heat.
- Meanwhile, in a flameproof casserole large enough to hold all the mussels, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the remaining onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the remaining 1/2 cup wine, saffron, salt, and black pepper. Let the mixture bubble steadily for a few minutes. Add the crème fraîche and parsley.
- Using a large slotted spoon, remove the mussels from the stock pot. Strain the broth into the saffron mixture. Bring to a boil. Add the mussels to the pan. Spoon the liquid over them. Divide the mussels and broth among shallow bowls.
*Pry apart any that do not open... our mussels are safely pre-cooked immediately after harvest and before being flash frozen.
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