Today I went on a field trip with my daughter. And to be honest with you, neither of us were particularly jazzed about the venue. You see, we live very close to the Cape Cod Canal. Matter of fact, we spend a lot of time there. So, when we heard that my daughter’s class was to visit the canal visitor’s center, we weren’t all that excited about it.
But I have to tell you, it was a great field trip. I’m not sure about my daughter, but I learned so much. As a frequent walker of the canal, I see all kinds of ships that traverse the waterway. And it was so interesting to learn what the ships carry and where they come from. While my daughter fidgeted and played with her shoelace I was rapt with attention. So much good information!
After the presentation was over, I made my way back to my car which was parked in a parking lot that was owned by a fish monger that I hadn’t visited before. Of course I had to check it out.
And I’m so glad I did. $35.00 later I came home with a bounty of mussels, chowder and salt cod. Not to mention some serious inspiration for future blog posts.
I big puffy heart love seafood.
Now, I’ve shared a recipe for mussels with you before, but that recipe was a white wine and garlic based dish. And while it is one of my all time favorite mussel recipes, I thought I’d share another favorite with you today.
Mussels Fra Diavolo Con Crema. Which is just a fancy way of saying spicy mussels with cream. It’s so much sexier in Italian, no?
As much as I love mussels, I think it’s the sauce that’s the true star of the show. Mussels are just the vehicle. Much like pasta, mussels are the carriers of whatever lusciousness they happen to be stewing in.
And let’s not forget about the bread. Mussels are small and you will certainly gobble them up before you finish off the sauce. That’s where a good loaf of bread steps in. You’ll need a crusty loaf of bread to sop up the leftover sauce. Look at it as an edible mop.
If you are not a mussels fan, feel free to use shrimp instead. Matter of fact, the Fra Diavolo Con Crema sauce is wonderful over just about any fish fillet. Cod, salmon and even swordfish would all be great choices for this dish. But the crusty bread is required. And some Barry White during the meal wouldn’t be such a bad choice either.
- 2 lbs fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup shallots, diced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 cups seafood stock or chicken stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup tomato puree (canned tomate sauce is fine)
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ cup light cream
- chopped parsley for garnish
- Heat butter and olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until melted. Add shallots and cook until translucent (about three to four minutes).
- Add salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, stock, white wine and tomato puree (or tomato sauce). Reduce heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cook at a simmer for 8-10 minutes.
- Add mussels, cover and cook for 3-5 minutes. Mussels are done when all of the shells have steamed open.
- Pour cream and Parmesan cheese over top and toss the shells around in the sauce to coat. Pour the shells and sauce into a large bowl, garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread.