Tag Archives: Mussels

Mussels with White Wine – Recipe

Here is one of the very simple seafood preparations I made for Christmas Eve and Lunch.

MUSSELS

Ingredients
1 kg Fresh Mussels, de-bearded and cleaned (Clams or Pippies can be substituted or added)
1/2 Bottle White Wine (Buy a reasonable white wine)
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Garlic
1 Tablespoon Fresh Chopped Ginger
1 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Lemon or Lime Juice
1/4 Cup Butter
Fresh Herbs of your choice
Good Crusty loaf of bread (sourdough is a treat)

Method

Using a wok, dump in all of the Mussels.  Pour the rest of the ingredients, down to and not including the lemon or lime juice, and toss together.  Put the heat to the wok and cover.

As soon as the liquid comes to a rolling boil, take the Wok off the heat and remove the lid.  Toss everything together to loosen up the mussels, and they should be opening up.  If none open, give them another 1 minute of boil and steam (with the lid on), but no more.

Start sorting the mussels and putting the opened ones into one bowl, while the closed ones get discarded (tap the closed ones first, as they might spring open).  Ones that are just opened slightly can be used.  If you want, you can separate the meat from the shells, but I prefer not to.  I like to use the shells as tongs to extract the meat while I am eating, and love the sauce that gathers in the shell.

Strain the remaining juice (called liquor) and put it back in the wok.  Add the lemon juice, then the butter a small piece at a time, stirring until melted.  Yep, you’re making a sauce.

Add the sauce back to the mussels with the herbs and toss one last time.  Serve hot with the loaf of bread and the rest of the chilled white.

As with all seafood, the key here is not overcooking.  the mussels will continue to cook in the bowl with the residual heat, so better to undercook them slightly.  If you could, you’d be tossing the mussels in the wok and removing them the instant they crack open.  The other key is the wine.  Do not use a wine that you would not drink.  Don’t spend more than $20 either (I try to keep it at just over $10 if I can).

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Scorched Calimari – Recipe

Here is one of the very simple seafood preparations I made for Christmas Eve and Lunch.

CALAMARI

Ingredients
1 kg Large Squid Tubes
1/3 Cup neutral oil (I like Light Olive Oil)
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Fresh Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Minced Chili (Mild Chili if you like, but add the Chili)
Good heavy pinch Salt and Pepper
Extra Lemon Juice
Fresh herbs of your liking (I like parsley and basil, though curry or lime leaves are also delicious).

Method
Cut the squid tubes along one side and open them out, removing any quills and loose skin.  Using a very sharp blade (I use a utility knife with the blade locked on the smallest setting so you can’t cut too deep) score the calamari on the inside of the tube, being careful not to cut all the way through, in a pattern of 1/2cm squares.  Then cut the squid into quarters, each roughly the size of a credit card.

Toss the squid into the rest of the ingredients, down to and not including the extra lemon juice, and let sit for an hour or two.

Heat up a wok or hot plate until it is very hot…smoking hot.  Then with the full heat on, dump in all of the squid and marinade, tossing and turning everything quickly.  After about 90 seconds begin removing the pieces that have become curled tubes, and turn those that haven’t on to their other sides.  They will instantly begin curling up, and should then be removed immediately.

Toss the cooked calamari with a squeeze of lemon juice, and some salt and pepper to taste.  Before serving, toss in some fresh chopped herbs of your liking, and enjoy.

The key here is DO NOT OVERCOOK THE CALAMARI.  It is ideal to remove the Calamari from the pan whilst it is just a little under done.  It will finish off in the bowl with the residual heat.  The result will be fork tender, I promise you.

2011 Christmas Vacation – Day 15

Today is Christmas Eve.

The plan for today is to enjoy a bit of a sleep in, and then to join the mad rush in the shopping centres to buy food for tomorrow’s Christmas Dinner.

Christmas this year is at Aunty Pam’s and Uncle Peters in Clonbinane, about 60km north of Melbourne, along the Hume highway, in a picturesque part of rural Victoria.

Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to provide the days lollies (candy) and chips, a task that is not to taxing on the family spending it’s holidays viewing thousands of kilometres of black top disappear beneath the front of their car, and for that I am grateful.

Alana and James have built a hair dressing salon in their garage, and she’s busy with clients all day, so we offer to do the grocery roundup for us all.  The set up James has built is really quite impressive.  It’s a modular salon, complete with floating floor, a wash bay with that funky head tray for the sink, special hairdressing chairs, and even a portable spray booth.  When you walk through the full sized glass paneled timber door , you are transported into a salon that could be anywhere…anywhere but a Garage, that is.

We rise at a leisurely 10am, and gather shopping lists from various family members (to collect their Christmas Meal requirements) before heading off to Costco (again) with the boys in tow.  This time they too will get to enjoy the Costco Hotdog and Pizza experience.

The next 4 hours are spent wandering the isles of Costco and other Grocery Stores, crossing off each item on the shopping list like Santa crossing off the names of naughty girls and boys.  Included from Costco were 5 dozen oysters which were to come back and bite us a bit later on.

We returned to Alana’s house and divide up the groceries, before we start our meal preparations for Christmas Eve dinner as well as the Christmas Day feast.  Jeri starts working on her Grandma’s Potato Salad recipe, as it is a tradition of hers to eat it for Christmas, so she was going to make it regardless of the simplified food request we had before us.

I decided to work on the Oysters, as I was going to prepare them in about 4 different ways.  The first was a Bloody Mary Oyster Shooter.  Then a Prosciutto Oyster Kilpatrick, a Mornay, and finally au naturale.  I try one of the Kilpatrick oysters first, and the taste from the oyster itself is ghastly.  I swallowed about half of it before spitting the rest out.  From a different tray, I try a natural oyster, and it too was wretched.  I took one bite and immediately spat it out of my mouth and into the waiting rubbish bin below.  Alana takes a whiff of one of them, and quickly agrees that something is not right.  We decide to take the safe option and throw all 5 dozen away.  What a disappointment.

To try to make amends for the Oysters, I score and cube some large squid tubes, before marinating them for a couple hours.  At the same time, I add about a kilo of mussels to a pot before pouring in white wine, water, some garlic and fresh herbs.  I steam the mussels until they are just opening.  Over cooking mussels makes them rubbery and bland, but properly cooked mussels are one of my favourite all time seafoods, and these turn out to be delicious.  I also toss the calamari on a scorching bbq plate, just for a minute or two until just cooked, and finish them with a squeeze of lemon and a few turns of cracked pepper and rock salt.  The result is tender and absolutely delicious.  A bit of char on the calamari works with the lemon and salt, and makes the dish without overpowering the delicate flavour that squid has.

We eat half of the seafood before celebrating the rest of Christmas Eve with some refreshing cocktails.  The distance between us siblings, though not as bad as it once was, still means we don’t get together as often as we would like…well at least not I.  I love my sisters, and really miss their company at times.  This is a good night, and in the morning, Santa comes.