Moules a la Mode

This may be the easiest meal you will ever make…I promise! It cooks up nice and quick and makes any dinner table look like a cute little French Bistro. I created this recipe after tasting a bland batch of mussels at a NYC restaurant (which will remain un-named) and thought that I could make the dish with a bit more spunk! So while strolling through the Green Market one afternoon, I picked up some fresh ingredients that would make for a scrumptious mussel dinner. I chose to serve them alongside a crusty baguette, a light salad of mixed greens with goat cheese in a lemon vinaigrette and a bottle of chilled 2008 HALL Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

It was a perfectly light meal that reminded me of being in the South of France on a crisp Fall night!

4 pounds of fresh Mussels (rinsed and de-bearded)
4 TBS. of unsalted butter
1 cup of dry white wine (I like to use Sauvignon Blanc)
5 Garlic cloves (crush 2 cloves through garlic press, and leave the 3 remaining cloves whole)
6 Sprigs of fresh Thyme
½ of a Serrano pepper (thinly slice)
2 Roma Tomatoes (diced)
1 TBS dried Oregano
Salt/Pepper to taste

Heat a large sauce pan (or large skillet with lid) over low heat. Add butter to the pan to melt, then the crushed garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Next add the diced tomatoes, sliced Serrano pepper, oregano, thyme and wine to the butter garlic mixture, turn heat to medium. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until you have a slight boil.

Then add a dash of salt and pepper as well as the mussels. Cover the pan, give it a good shake to make sure the broth and mussels are fully incorporated, and let steam for about 2-3 minutes (or until most mussels have opened), if not, let steam for another minute.

If some mussels have not opened, discard them. Don't cook any longer than 4 minutes because mussels can be rubbery if overcooked.

Remove from heat and serve immediately with a crusty loaf of bread or French fries!

Bon Appétit

Yield: 4-6 servings

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