Making Merry with Mussels

Mussel Fest Mussel Fest ‘09


It was nearly spontaneous. It was clearly delicious!

 Our friend Paul
shares a birthday with Jeff and we thought it would be fun to celebrate
together. He and Kate live in the Le Marche region of Italy, close to the sea,
so they offered to bring the famed Portonovo muscioli or mussels for dinner and
who am I to turn down an offer of probably the best mussels on earth?


Now, I’m expecting them to show up with ‘some’ mussels…but
they arrive with half the Adriatic’s worth of mussels! These sweet little
morsels don’t require much in the way of fancy cooking skills, in our case they
just required the biggest pot I own, some fresh fennel fronds from the orto,
chopped lemons, a couple of cracked garlic cloves and a splash of white wine to get things started. Don't add too much liquid when you cook mussels, they make plenty of juice all on their own. Have tons of bread on hand for sopping up all that good juice.

Oh, when cooking an extreme quantity of mussels, you will need about 4
extra pairs of hands to transfer the mountain of mussels into serving bowls. I
think we used every bowl in the house.

I love hat special moment when the din of conversation
drops to a hush that is only broken by the sound of shells being tossed in a
bowl. It’s a magic moment when all good things at the table are being enjoyed and a chance for me to sit back and to enjoy being with friends. 


And judging by the mess in that was in the kitchen, it looks
like a fine time was had by all!  I’m still finding little mussel shells hiding
in nooks and crannies. Can mussels multiply out of water??

Thanks Paul and Kate….drop by any time you have a cooler
full of goodness.

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