Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spotting Lunch - Mussels with Saffron Broth and Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola

These mussels caught my eye the other day, so I had to post them today... I love different kinds of seafood, mussels are great. I've never made them for myself before, but this recipe is something I'm going to have to try. I thought this dish would be great along with a salad. I knew the spinach salad was it when I saw it. What a wonderful lunch these two recipes would make. I found both dishes on TasteSpotting... the mussels were posted by sippitysup and the salad was posted by beloit08.

Photo from sippitysup

Mussels in Saffron and Mustard Broth
via sippitysup

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

1/2 cup chopped shallots

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon thyme, leaves only

salt and pepper

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

2 cups dry white wine

2 big pinches saffron threads

4 lbs mussels

1/4 cup minced parsley

freshly ground black pepper

1. Melt 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Once the butter bubbles, but before it gets brown add shallots, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low.

2. Cook this mixture until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

3. At this point add 2 cups of a dry white wine. Bring the heat back up and let the liquid come to a boil.

4. Once it boils, bring the temperature back down to low, and reduce it for a few minutes.

5. Once a little viscosity is built in, add the saffron to the pot. Then remove the pot from the heat and cover it with a lid. You want to keep all that saffron essence inside your pot. You can also do this hours in advance, letting the broth wait at room temperature and re-heat it at serving time.

6. When you are ready to serve whisk 1/3 cup of Dijon mustard into the prepared broth. Bring this to a simmer (not a boil).

7. Add the clean and de-bearded mussels to the pan. Turn the heat up a bit, cover the pot and cook about 2 minutes, quickly remove the pan from the heat. The mussels should have opened up and look spectacular! Toss in a few tablespoons of chopped parsley and give it a good grind of black pepper.

8. Serve immediately…

Don't those mussels sound good?

Now onto the salad...

Photo from G.Turner

Spinach salad with Gorgonzola and balsamic walnut vinaigrette

By G.Turner

(serves 2, 4 if served as a side salad)
Enough spinach to fill a good-sized bowl (you know how much you want to eat)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
4 tbl crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
4 tbl extra virgin olive oil
2 tbl balsamic vinegar
kosher salt

Tear the spinach leaves and pile them in separate bowls. Divide the crumbled cheese and sprinkle liberally over the spinach. In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it develops a slight sheen, carefully add the walnuts. Cook them until they begin to release a rich, nutty aroma (probably about 2 minutes), and the color begins to deepen. Add the balsamic vinegar and let it sizzle and reduce, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle with a couple good pinches of salt, then pour the walnuts, oil and vinegar over the spinach and cheese. Serve warm.

If you happen to drink in the afternoon... Serving this lunch with a glass of white wine would be amazing. You could go with red if you prefer, but the weather is getting warmer and I prefer cool drinks... I'd suggest serving with some freshly baked baguette. Is there a great local bread bakery in your area?

Here's to warm ovens and full bellies.


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