Mussels are not photogenic. It must have taken me 30 shots to get a handful of decent photos. But, despite being blurry and ugly on camera, freshly steamed mussels are quiet delicious, and make a quick weeknight meal. And in person, the dish was a pretty sight, with bright colors and a glossy broth.
There's little work required to make steamed mussels taste good. Butter, garlic, wine and loads of parsley. But, this time I wanted something different. Something special. The husband had doubts. He thought, why mess with a good thing? He couldn't foresee the deliciousness that lay ahead. But, I'm aware that not everyone can be a visionary. After finding Spanish chorizo and roasted bell peppers in my fridge, I decided I must show him the way.
First, I browned the chorizo in a few drops of olive oil, then I added bell peppers.
Next, I added garlic, butter, the clean mussels, and white wine, red pepper flakes, along with salt and pepper. After the wine had a few minutes to evaporate, I covered the pot and let everything steam for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once your mussels have steamed and opened, taste the broth, add a dab more of butter, adjust the seasoning (if necessary) and top your dish with lots of chopped parsley.
Make sure to have plenty of crusty bread on hand. And a spoon, or ladle for all the delicious broth. The broth was spicy, smoky and tasted of the sea. Nothing like a well-seasoned broth to bring the dish together.
The 1 1/2 lbs of mussels made for a substantial dinner. Add to that bread and wine, and you've got yourself a fancy weeknight meal for two. If it's just the two of us, we like to eat our mussels directly from the pot they were prepared in, spending more time sipping wine and chatting, and less time cleaning dishes.