January 4, 2014

Mussels with Lemon-Saffron Sauce

Photos by  Corey Woodruff
So far, 2014 is....fairly cold. We are bracing for some serious winter weather here in St. Louis, expecting up to 10 inches of snow and low temps of -9. The high on Monday is predicted to be zero. Brrrr.

I don't mind the arctic temperatures; I just hope my boiler can keep up. It's been fickle lately, refusing to ignite sometimes and letting the temperature in the house drop. A few weeks ago, the boiler was off all night and it was 40 degrees in the house when I woke up. Last night, it was off for several hours but kicked back on in the middle of the night...thankfully. I've had a repair guy out to check it, but it was--of course--working just fine when he was here & he couldn't find anything wrong with it. *sigh*

With such frigid forecasts, people tend to stock up on milk, eggs, and bread. Instead of making French toast, however, I made a big pot of steamed mussels with a piquant lemon-saffron sauce...perfect with crusty bread and a bottle of wine.

I highly suggest making this while you're snowed in tomorrow.

Mussels with Lemon-Saffron Sauce
recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 generous pinch of saffron threads
2 pounds mussels
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
parsley or chives, for garnish (optional)
salt & pepper

  • Put the mussels in a big bowl & cover them with cold water. Pick through them, pulling off any beards and checking for broken shells (discard those). Set aside.

  • Whisk crème fraîche & eggs in medium bowl to blend. Set aside.
  • Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Add Cognac and ignite with match. Let flames burn out; whisk in lemon juice and saffron. Set aside.
  • Place mussels in heavy large pot; pour in wine. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cover pot and cook until mussels open, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Using tongs, transfer mussels to a serving bowl or platter (discard any that do not open) & cover with foil with keep warm while finishing the sauce.

  • Strain mussel cooking liquid through a sieve lined with cheesecloth into the skillet with the shallot mixture. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced, about 3 minutes. Very slowly whisk 1 cup of the hot liquid into the crème fraîche mixture (to temper the eggs), then return the mixture to the skillet.
  • Stir over low heat just until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; season sauce with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over mussels. Garnish with chopped parsley or chives.
  • Serve with crispy French bread or over pasta.

Other shellfish recipes:


Ciao Annie said...

This looks so delicious! Where do you buy your mussels in St. Louis? I love seafood, but have always been afraid to cook it in the Midwest ;)

Kelly @ Barbaric Gulp! said...

Thanks, Annie!

I get all my seafood at Bob's Seafood on Olive at 170.

Ciao Annie said...

Ohh... thanks!!