Or maybe a satisfying Friday night Chowder!
2 LBS MUSSELS – cleaned, de-bearded
3 CUPS BROTH – vegetable or fish
½ CUP WHITE WINE – dry, your favorite
2-3 YUKON GOLD POTATOES – peeled, Cubed
1-2 TBS EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
½ CUP PANCETTA – diced
1 ONION – coarsely chopped
1 CELERY RIB – small, chopped
PINCH OF FRESH THYME – chopped
1 CARROT – small, chopped
2 GARLIC CLOVES – minced, or to taste
SEA SALT – to taste
½ CUP HEAVY CREAM
3 TBS FLOUR – I use Wondra
FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
- Scrub and de-beard the mussels under cold running water. (Use pliers to remove tough Beards.)
- Place cleaned mussels in a large water with ice water and salt and let soak for about an hour to allow the mussels to expel any inside grit.
- Drain and rinse a few times, discarding any mussels that are cracked or may have opened.
- Put the mussels in a large pot with the wine and bring to a slow boil over high heat.
- Cook, shaking the pot often for about 5 or 6 minutes or just until the mussels have opened. Discard any that have not opened and carefully with a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large bowl.
- Strain the remaining cooking liquid in the pot through a very fine sieve or several layers of cheese cloth into another bowl.
- This will remove any grit that has remained. (Grit will ruin the entire meal.) The cooking liquid and added broth should equal 4 cups. If not, add additional broth and set aside.
- In the meantime, cook the potatoes in a pot with cold, salted water that covers the potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until the potatoes are just slightly tender. Drain and set aside.
- While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.
- Add the pancetta and cook stirring occasionally until the pancetta is slightly crisp.
- Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened.
- Sprinkle in the flour and mix well. (I use Wondra because it blends well and doesn’t lump but all-purpose flour works too.)
- Stir in the reserved liquid mixture bring to a simmer and then adjust the heat to medium low and continue cooking with the lid slightly open for about 10-15 minutes to allow all the seasonings to blend together.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the cream and return to a simmer.
- Add the mussels and potatoes.
- Cover and cook to warm the potatoes and mussels, about 3-5 minutes.
- Serve in deep bowls and pass some crusty, toasted Italian bread slices to sop up the delicious juice.