In advance of my much anticipated visit to Brasserie Beck tonight, I thought I’d share a recipe that I’ve been working on in recent years. I first learned to cook mussels when I lived in Martha’s Vineyard for a summer back in 2002. We used to go to one of the public beaches with a cooler and pick a few pounds of mussels right off the rocks. My first recipe was fairly simple and consisted mainly of onions, carrots, celery, wine, lemon and butter. I’ve taken more of a French approach recently and have come up with the following basic recipe for mussels in creamy white wine sauce. The sauce makes for great dipping, so be sure to eat it with slices of baguette or crispy bread.
Here’s a photo of my most recent attempt at this recipe.
Mussels in creamy white wine sauce
Time: 40 minutes
2 leeks: ends removed, halved, sliced
2 medium sized shallots: finely chopped
2 garlic cloves: finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup dry white wine (I prefer pinot gris or pinot blanc)
1/2 cup cream
3 pounds mussels, cleaned and with beards removed
Thoroughly rinses the mussels, tossing out any that won’t close, and set aside.
Start by sweating the leeks and shallots with 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan over medium. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add the garlic, salt, and pepper and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a simmer, cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cream and remaining butter, cook the sauce until it has reduced to a medium-to-thick texture. The sauce should stick to a spoon.
Heat a large pot to medium. Add the mussels and stir in the sauce. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mussels have opened.
Serve the mussels and sauce in either one large bowl or smaller individual bowls along with basket of sliced baguette for dipping.