- Tuesday, June 10, 2008 -- 7pm
- Location: Somerville, MA
- Kitchen: Matty's Apartment
- Fellow Chef: Matty
- Dining Companion: Mike
- Recipe Rating: A-
I hesitantly admit that before making this dish a couple weeks ago, I had never in my life eaten a mussel. In my own defense, I grew up in Wisconsin, where if people were eating mussels, I don't remember it! I didn't become much of a culinary adventurer until late college/early graduate school (and for a Midwestern girl, mussels count as an adventure). I got around to trying an oyster before I ever made it to a mussel, and after my first oyster I ended up a bit short of breath. Likely it was completely unrelated to the oyster -- I was in a foreign country, eating lots of crazy things, so this experiment was entirely uncontrolled. Regardless, I was mildly concerned that I was harboring an allergy to mollusks that I hadn't discovered yet. Shortly after, in culinary school, I watched one of my classmates nearly die from a lobster allergy she didn't know she had. It was a traumatizing experience, and at that point I became a little paranoid. So, fast forward about 5 years, and I still had never had a mussel. Frankly, this bothered me not-at-all and chances are I would have lived a whole mussel-free life if this project hadn't gotten in my way. But there are mussels in The Book, so I had no choice but to make them!
I figured it was best to be surrounded by several competent friends for this experiment, so I reminded Matty where the nearest hospital is (practically around the corner), and then also invited Mike over for dinner. I was fully prepared for any anaphylactic shock that might come my way. I carefully prepared these mussels (the recipe for which is super simple) and then the three of us sat down at the dining room table. With Mike on one side of me and Matty on the other, I started by dipping a little bread in the mussel liquid. I ate that. I waited. Nothing happened. So I carefully took the tiniest bite of a mussel. From that I learned that mussels should be eaten in one bite. Nothing will make you want to eat a mussel less than taking a little bite and looking inside of it. Gross. Just gross. So I started with a new mussel, and ate it in one bite. And what happened??? Nothing. I was totally fine. I had a mild panic attack from paranoia, but I was completely ok. The mussel experiment was a success.
And you know what else? Mussels are delicious! This recipe was extremely simple: the mussels were put in a baking pan and covered with a mixture of parsley, garlic, and butter. Then the whole thing was covered tightly with aluminum foil and baked to perfection. The mussels came out flavorful, buttery, and delicious! I'm told by Matty that mussel recipes can get even better than this one, but I found this recipe very satisfying! Now that I no longer have any reason to avoid them, I am actually looking forward to the remaining mussel recipes in The Book!
Here is the recipe.