Authentic Mussels from Brussels

Belgium's national dish, if done well, is incredible.  And having just returned from a quick week in Brussels, I happened to receive a request for a tried and true moules recipe.  "Well, as a matter of fact....."

Last summer, after exhausting and tweaking and experimenting with any Mussels à la Marinière recipe I could get my grubby hands on, I finally settled on this recipe from epicurious.  Comes with a video, too.  

(Dear Epicurious, this is the very reason I love you - with your tips and your videos and your how-tos!  and p.s, I've made this without the tomatoes and cheap/fake saffron and it was just as scrumptious as any mussels I've had around the Grand Place.)

Epicurious | January 2009
by The Culinary Institute of America
This recipe is one of the simplest and most delectable recipes in the book. The flavor of the mussels pairs beautifully with the unique flavor that the saffron imparts to the broth. You will find yourself making this recipe again and again.
Yield: Makes 8 servings

2 teaspoons butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons half and half
2 1/2 teaspoons saffron threads
1 cup clam juice
4 scallions, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, seeded, and chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
8 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 1/2 tablespoons chives, chopped

Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine, half and half, and saffron; simmer for 5 minutes. Add the clam juice, scallions, tomato, and lemon juice, scallions, tomato, and lemon juice; simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the mussels, cover, and stream until they are open, about 5-7 minutes. Shake the pot, holding down the lid with a kitchen towel, to redistribute the mussels. Discard any mussels that do not open. Divide the mussels into eight bowls; distribute the broth equally among the bowls, and top each with fresh chives.

Focus on: Cleaning Mussels
Hold the mussel under cold running water. Use a brush with stiff bristles to thoroughly scrub the mussel and remove grit, sand, and mud from the shell's exterior. Mussels—especially non-farmed ones—often have a dark, shaggy beard extending from each shell. Remove them for a neater appearance in the finished dish. After scrubbing a mussel, pull the beard away from the shell until taut, and then pull the beard down sharply toward the dark hinge. It will snap away easily. Removing its beard will kill the mussel, so perform this step just before cooking.

And the how-to video that helps tremendously::

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