Is it Christmas already? I don’t remember 2o12 going by this fast and I honestly can’t believe 2013 is almost over. Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy this year preparing to apply for grad school. For that reason, I thought I’d take a break from my essays and wish all of you a very, merry Christmas with this tasty and super easy seafood dish before the holidays passes me by!
For those that have been following Emilie and I for awhile, you may recall last Christmas where I gave my family’s traditional Christmas dinner an Asian twist to honor my mother’s heritage. I also shared my seafood risotto for an Italian Christmas Eve tradition known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. This mussel dish combines both of those concepts into one pot! Multi-tasking…love it!
So I have always wanted to make mussels, but for some reason found them intimidating. It must have been the debearding. Debearding, what’s that? How much work is this? Am I going to get sick or die if I debeard these things wrong? Eeep! I was relaying this fear to Tom one evening after having a delicious pot of mussels at Dupont Circle’s Bistrot Du Coin. In typical Tom fashion, he told me to just do it already.
So I did!
Preparing the mussels took a little time and the debearding was waaaay wierd, but easy peasy over all. I’m sure it will go faster the next time around now that I’ve gotten over my fear. Just yank that hairy, stringy sucker from the shell. If you need a better grip on the beard, I recommend using a paper towel.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Have a delicious holiday!
Asian Fusion Mussels
serves appx 4
- 2 pounds fresh mussels
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 2 Chinese eggplant (approximately 2 cups prepped*)
- 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 Thai chili, sliced lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, seperated
- ¼ cup fresh Thai basil leaves, chopped (appx 2 tablespoons, chopped)
- Salt and pepper
- Cooked spaghetti or linguine
- Rinse and debeard your mussels if they are not so already.
- Be sure to discard any mussels with broken shells or any that do not close when tapped. Set aside.
- Pre-heat oven to 425° Fahrenheit
- Cut eggplant* into 1 inch cubes or rounds depending on thickness. Lay eggplant out on a baking sheet. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the eggplant and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss eggplant together so that all the pieces are lightly coated with the olive oil and seasonings.
- Bake eggplant for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. With a heat resistant spoon or spatula, give the eggplant cubes a toss to help the eggplant cook evenly. Return to oven and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender and caramelized. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While eggplant is baking, begin preparing the mussels.
- In a large, lidded pot (I used my dutch oven), heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the butter over medium, to medium high heat.
- When butter has melted, sauté shallots until soft and translucent, then add the minced garlic.
- Pour wine into the pot and add the Thai chili pepper and bring to a boil.
- Add diced tomatoes along with the juices.
- Return to boil. Lower heat to medium. Cover and simmer 2-3 minutes.
- Add mussels to the pot in a single layer along with half of the Thai basil. Cover and steam the mussels for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, check to see if mussels have begun to open. Most open within 3-4 minutes.
- Once most of the mussels have opened, use a slotted spoon to remove mussels from the juices they were steamed in and place in a large bowl. Discard mussels that remain closed.
- To serve spoon tomatoes and juices over the cooked pasta along with the baked eggplant cubes. Toss together. Add desired mussels. Spoon additional juices as desired over the mussels, and sprinkle with remaining chopped Thai basil.