Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mussels in White Wine and Butter

Ubiquitous on appetizer menus around the United States, mussels in white wine and butter is a classic and as essential as béchamel (white sauce) or marinara to one’s culinary repertoire. So roll up your sleeves and tuck a napkin under your chin.
2 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed, debearded and rinsed (toss any that are broken or already open and don’t close when tapped gently)
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3/4 cup dry white wine
¼ cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 lemon, halved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pasta
Heat water and a generous pinch of sea salt and cook pasta until al dente.
Melt one tablespoon butter and olive oil over medium heat and cook shallots and garlic until soft, about five minutes. Stir in white wine, thyme sprigs and mussels. Give everything a good toss then cover and allow the mussels to steam open.  
Remove cooked mussels to a bowl and cover. Continue simmering the cooking liquid until reduced by about half. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining three tablespoons of butter one at a time. Season to taste with black pepper.
Place pasta in a serving platter and top with the mussels. Drizzle with the reduced white wine and butter sauce. Shower with the parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

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