t’s been 3 long months since I cooked a meal in my kitchen in Berlin. I batted around several ideas as to what meal I’d re-christen my pots and pans with before settling on this one. Not because it required the use every pot and pan in my arsenal, but rather just one. Nor did this dish require my complete culinary focus, which after 3 months of being away, I can’t say that I have my full cooking wits about me just yet. This dish, however, was exactly what I needed it to be for my return to my kitchen – simple, easy and satisfying.
- 2 ½ – 3 pounds fresh mussels
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 garlic cloves, minced; about 1 tablespoon
- 2” knob of ginger, julienned
- 1 red chili, minced and seeded (use the seeds if your dare)
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 cups white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
- 2 scallions, minced, green parts only
- Your favorite baguette, for serving (optional)
Start by cleaning the mussels and removing their beards (the stringy fibers that emerge from the shells). You can use a vegetable scrub brush to individually scrub the mussels clean under cold water. Remove the beards by tugging at them and pulling them towards the back of the mussel. If the shells of the mussels are opened tap the shell, they should begin to close tightly. Its important to discard any mussels with cracked shells or any that won’t close. After cleaning the mussels place them in a bowl of cold water until you’re ready.
If you’re still worried about sand and debris you can add 2 tablespoons of flour to the cold water and mussels. Allow the mussels to soak for about 30 minutes before cooking. The mussels will expel any sand and debris. Drain the water and rinse off any mussels before cooking them.
In a large pot sauté the onions and oil over medium heat until slightly translucent, about 5 minutes. Then, add the garlic, ginger, chili, salt and pepper and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Then, add the wine, turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, add the mussels, reduce the heat to medium and cook with the lid on for about 7-10 minutes. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened. Top with scallions and enjoy immediately with a crusty baguette for dipping.