I have said it before, and I’ll say it again—I love shellfish. L. O. V. E. And more often than not, if a restaurant offers steamed mussels on its appetizer list, I order it as a main course. In my former life, I’m pretty sure I must have been a Mediterranean mermaid because I love Frutti de mare, puttanesca, cioppino, paella, and anything and everything cooked diavolo-style … oh, and then there’s the wine … and everything else.
Anchovies, olives, garlic, basil, tomatoes, capers … oh, MY!
Alas, one of my favorite things to cook is a rich, tomato-based seafood stew … but the other day I had mussels steamed in a white wine sauce, so I decided to venture out a bit and try my hand creating it at home. I scoured through multiple recipes and picked the flavors I like best and came up with the recipe below—truth be known, it’s not my favorite. It’s fine, but I missed the red pepper flakes and tomato flavor. But hey, if you’re not into the spice and not a fan of tomato … if you prefer New England clam chowder over Manhattan clam chowder, then this just might be the right combination for you. So give it a whirl and let me know how it goes.
Shellfish Simmered in White Wine
COOK TIME: 45 minutes
½ onion, chopped
2 medium shallots, sliced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Olive oil—just enough to lightly coat the bottom of your pan
2-3 tablespoons butter
1-2 cups* white wine, nothing sweet
1-2 cups stock*—I typically use vegetable stock but have used fish stock and chicken bone broth *depending on how much liquid you want
¼ cup fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried
1-2 bay leaves
2 lbs mussels
1 lb clams
16-20 shrimp, enough for each person to have 4-5 depending on preference
2-3 fillets of white fish: flounder, cod, halibut, pollack
Purchase fresh mussels that are kept on ice and ask for their harvest date
Sauté onion, shallots and garlic in butter and olive oil for about 10 minutes. Add wine, stock or broth and herbs. Let simmer while preparing seafood.
Wash mussels and set aside. Make sure to debeard if you didn’t purchase them debearded. Note, mussels can have a lot of sand in them so it’s really important to lightly scrub the outer shell. Rinse clams add to mussels. I have used both fresh and frozen clams and they both work equally as well. For this recipe I used Salty Seas frozen clams. Peel and devein shrimp, set aside. Cut fish into half-inch pieces. I use frozen fillets for this and it works perfectly as they thaw while cooking. I used Orca Bay Seafoods frozen flounder.
Toss mussels and clams into broth, then place shrimp and pieces of fish over the shellfish. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes and “shake” the pot a few times to distribute the seafood. Once the shrimp have turned pink, your dish is ready to eat. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the liquid. Optional to serve over pasta. Sprinkle with additional parsley and freshly grated Parmesan. Enjoy!
Coming up next week on the blog … an interview with Barton Seaver, Director of the Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
A note about my recipes … most of what I cook isn’t a precise science. It’s look, taste and feel. And I encourage you to cook the same way. Add a little more of this, or a little less of that … and pay attention … and before long you’ll be a wiz at cooking seafood.
DISCLAIMER: I’m a writer and an editor. And I try my best to make sure every post is articulate and free from errors. However, being that I edit my own work—and it’s next to impossible to properly edit your own work—I admit, occasionally there may be an error or two I miss. But doing so doesn’t make me an idiot so don’t be mean. Just smile, pat yourself on the back for finding an error and be glad you’re not the only one who makes mistakes sometimes … yes, even mermaids slip up every now and then. xoxox
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