Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mussels In Red Sauce

I hope you enjoy this mussel dish as much as we did. I've been trying to find a good recipe for mussels in red sauce and hope to soon create my own because this is my daughter's favorite meal. This recipe was a great starter and she gave it two thumbs up! It tasted fresh and was easy to make. 

Mussel Soup (Zuppa de Cozze)  
From Angela's Italian & Sicilian Recipes (easy printable version, a little different from below, though, can be found here).  I named it Mussels In Red Sauce because that's what my daughter likes to calls it.

2 lbs mussels
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, (I minced mine)
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 large ripe tomatoes (I used one 28 oz can whole tomatoes but fresh will be really nice when garden tomatoes are available. For fresh tomato instructions, go to link above.)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (loosely packed)
6 basil leaves (I chopped them)
1 teaspoon crushed red chili pepper, optional (I added)
Extra virgin olive oil as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt

Scrub mussels clean, pull off beards, if any. Our mussels were pretty clean already by the fishmonger, making this part a breeze.

Dice onions and mince garlic. Saute onions in a little olive oil until translucent in a stock pot over medium heat. Add garlic and cook through.

Add wine, canned tomatoes with juice (break up tomatoes with hands first), pepper, crushed chili pepper and heat to a gentle boil.

Add mussels, cover pot and steam until mussels open. It doesn't take long for them to open. Check mussels in a few minutes and gently stir. Cover and check again in a few minutes. Remove from heat when all mussels are open.

Gently stir in parsley and basil (the recipe I followed left out the basil from the instructions. Since it's fresh, I added the basil at the end). Add salt to taste. This recipe served all four of us.

Use an Italian loaf or French baguette, extra virgin olive oil, and about 3-4 garlic cloves, halved.
To make bruschetta: Slice the bread to accommodate servings. Brush a little olive oil over one side of each slice. Lay slices out on a baking sheet. Toast until lightly brown under the broiler or your preferred method. Rub garlic halves over each slice.

After we eat our first mussel, we like to use a mussel shell as our spoon!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Asparagus With Sauce Gribiche

Oh, Sauce Gribiche, where have you been all my life? 

I can't believe that I've never heard of Sauce Gribiche until now. Maybe the question should be, "Oh, where have I been?" Either way, I'm glad to have climbed out from under my rock and find Sauce Gribiche.

I discovered this wonderful French sauce by accident a few weeks ago. It was coincidental that I had just bought Schartner Farms' asparagus when I opened Edible Rhody and turned to a recipe called "Schartner Farms Asparagus With Sauce Gribiche." It caught my caught my eye immediately. Reading on, I got excited that I had all the ingredients except cornichons. Luckily, I had homemade pickled zucchini with a similar flavor that I had also bought at the farmers' market. So, without any planning on a beautiful spring day, a delicious and elegant lunch had come together. Serendipity!

Beautiful fresh Schartner Farms' asparagus. Fresh parsley and chives from my garden:

Sauce Gribiche
Printable version can be found at Edible Rhody, recipe by Nemo Bolin at the Cook & Brown Public House, Providence

6 hard-boiled eggs, whites and yolks separated

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more to finish
1/4 cup brined capers, chopped
1/4 cup cornichons, chopped (I used pickled zucchini)
3 shallots, finely minced
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (I just adjusted to my taste)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

I started by boiling the eggs, about 10 minutes (I add eggs to cold water, bring to a boil, turn off heat and let sit about 10 minutes).

While eggs were boiling, I started preparing the mixture by chopping and mincing the other ingredients and put them aside.

Capers: I had small capers which I've never chopped before. The recipe doesn't say small or large, but I thought, okay, I'll give it a try and chopped the small capers. Perhaps it imparts more flavor? I don't know. Next time, I'd try the sauce without chopping the capers to see if there's a noticable difference. If you haven't chopped small capers before either, I leave the chopping decision up to you! (I found it amusing that I wasn't the only one who thought this.)

When the eggs were done, I peeled them under running cold water and separated the yolks from the whites. In a shallow medium bowl I mashed the yolks into a paste with the back of a fork, stirred in mustard and vinegar, then slowly drizzled the olive oil to incorporate. It doesn't need to emulsify like a hollandaise or mayonnaise, so don't worry about it separating. I mixed in the remaining ingredients, chopped the egg whites and gently added them to the mixture. Seasoned with salt and pepper to taste, drizzled with a little more extra virgin olive oil to serve.

Blanch Asparagus
I served the Sauce Gribiche with blanch asparagus. I definitely prefer roasted or grilled asparagus, but here is the recipe if you'd like to serve the sauce with blanch asparagus: Place cleaned and trimmed (snap woody ends off) asparagus in boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. While they boil, get a large bowl ready with iced water. Remove asparagus and cool immediately in the ice water.

Sauce Gribiche is a classic French sauce that's very versatile. It can be served with vegetables, fish, meat, and bread. Even though it's a classic sauce, it can be made in various ways and with different combinations of herbs. Popular combinations I read about, in addition to above, included parsley (always), chervil, chives, and tarragon.

This recipe made quite a bit for our family so I used some on crackers for a snack one day and I shared the rest with my friend. She served it with grilled asparagus over Memorial Day weekend and told me it was a big hit!