Le Creuset Cookware : Me :: Pokémon : Ten-Year Olds. Gotta
catch collect ’em all! I’m slowly building my collection of what I consider the most beautiful and useful cookware of all time. For my recent birthday, my mom sent me a Le Creuset grill pan and Christian got me the wide braiser!! And just like any gift, I needed to use them immediately. I was trying to think of a recipe that I could use both pans for and this is what I came up with!
I love good crusty bread with a flavorful broth. And we love garlic at Mission Kitchen, so it’s used generously in this recipe. Be sure to get fresh mussels the day you make this. They’ll be happy in the fridge for a few hours, but generally not longer. You can keep them loosely covered with a damp cloth or in a tub of cold, very salty water (remember, they’re from the ocean!) in the fridge. If you do keep them in water, change the water after every 2.5 hours or they’ll run out of oxygen. Do not keep them in a plastic bag or cover them tightly or they’ll suffocate as well. This recipe uses some fennel for a little extra depth and heirloom tomatoes for the best tomato flavor.
You can serve this in smaller portions as an appetizer or in larger bowls for a satisfying meal on its own.
Steamed Mussels with Heirloom Tomatoes and Fennel
Serves 2 – 4
- 1.5 pounds fresh mussels
- 3 medium heirloom tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion
- 1 medium bulb fennel, with fronds
- 1 head garlic
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- good, crusty bread
- fresh basil
Clean and prep the mussels. Rinse each under cold running water, removing the ‘beard’ that might still be attached with a small paring knife. If any mussels are open, even slightly, give them a gentle tap on the counter and wait a few minutes. If they close, up they’re fine to use. If they don’t close, the mussels are dead and should be discarded. Once all the mussels are cleaned, transfer them to a bowl, cover loosely with a damp towel, and keep in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the dish.
Heat a large pan over medium-low heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the chile flake. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan. Turn the heat to low and stir occasionally to slowly caramelize the onion.
Wash the fennel bulb and chop off the stems, reserving the fronds for later use. Cut the bulb into thin slices and add those to the pan to caramelize on low heat with the onions.
Finely dice the carrot and add that to the pan as well. Keep stirring occasionally to keep any bits from becoming to brown. Be patient, caramelizing takes time. Once the onions and fennel have caramelized, about 30 minutes, they should be soft and a light brown color.
Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems, and roughly chop them. Peel the whole head of garlic and finely chop all of the cloves. Add the tomatoes to the onions and fennel and turn the heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper, tasting as you go. Stir occasionally and let the tomatoes come to a boil. The tomatoes will break down and release their water. Let the liquid simmer gently and reduce down, about 10 – 15 minutes.
Add the garlic and stir to incorporate. Cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the white wine, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Once the liquid just returns to a boil, dump in the mussels, stir just to evenly distribute them, and cover.
Let cook, covered for 3 – 5 minutes. Just until the mussels have opened.
While they’re steaming, finely chop a handful of basil and the leftover fennel fronds.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Slice the bread into thick slices and brush the remaining olive oil over each side. Grill the bread until crisp and lightly charred on both sides.
Once all of the mussels have opened, turn off the heat, spoon them into serving bowls, and top with extra sauce from the pan. Sprinkle each bowl with a bit of the chopped basil and fennel and serve with slices of the grilled bread!