Mussels

January 26th, 2015 § 2 comments

For more than a year, HG has been suffering (not quietly) from mussels deprivation. This past June, upon arriving at HG/BSK’s oceanfront summer home on Prince Edward Island, HG received some dread news: The Mussels Interpretive Center in the town of St. Peter’s had closed. Besides housing a mussels mini-museum, the center offered dining under the creative command of masterly Andrew MacDonald. On offer was the world’s best mussel stew, steamed mussels with melted butter and South Lake oysters on the half shell. A saddened HG repaired to the By the Bay Fish Mart for a bag of mussels to prepare at home. Unfortunately, the knowledgeable proprietor told HG the mussels were below par this past season. She was right. Upon returning to New Mexico, HG gave the PEI mussels at Whole Foods a try. Maybe autumn weather had improved the mollusks. No luck. HG was left with memories. Best mussels ever were served in a Sicilian restaurant (Vincent’s ?) in gritty Harrison, N.J., more than three decades ago. HG/BSK and hungry pals would eat a tub of steamed mussels accompanied by crisp fried zucchini and good bread to sop up briny juices. These were big, plump mussels filled with juice and flavor. HG once asked where these mussels were found. Got a one word answer: “Joisey.” In Denver, HG enjoyed the “finger burning” mussels at Mel’s Restaurant (long closed). These were inspired by the mussels served at La Cagouille Restaurant in Paris. A very simple dish. Mussels were grilled on a cast iron plancha until they opened. Risking burnt fingers, these juicy morsels were dipped in melted lemon butter. HG had a happy Paris memory of the stuffed mussels at Pied de Cochon in Les Halles. HG’s mussels deprivation ended last night. HG had been suffering from a stomach ailment for three days. Deprived him of appetite. Appetite returned. Resourceful BSK found some great PEI mussels at Whole Foods (asked the sales clerk to find a freshly arrived bag in the rear). Steamed with onions, garlic, Italian parsley, clam broth and white wine, some five pounds were served over linguine. Joy.

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