Being from Nova-Scotia, loving shell fish like lobster, scallops and mussels is practically in my DNA. I recently returned from a blissful vacation back home on the East Coast, where we indulged in all of my favorites.
Mussels were a staple in my house growing up and I always loved dunking them in garlicky lemon butter. It’s funny how nothing really changed (well maybe my glass of sauvignon blanc). This humble East Coast favorite has continued to be a special dish into my adulthood. It was the first meal I ever made for Rez and whenever I make it at home it brings back happy memories, both old and new.
At the time I was living in Vancouver and we had been dating long distance for a couple of months. We had met in Hawaii Thanksgiving weekend, had our first date in Montreal on NYE and in January I went to visit him in San Francisco. It was quite the whirlwind! Now it was his turn to come see me in Vancouver and not on buddy pass!
Side note for those of you who are not in the airline industry: Although our career allows us to travel freely and cheaply, long distance relationships can be equally or more taxing on our end. When you fly for a living, doing all of the commuting in a long distance relationship can be draining, especially when it’s not appreciated. It’s a test in a way, to see if they’re willing to put in the work and not ask for the ‘golden ticket’ immediately.
Rez was due to arrive right around lunchtime so I decided to make him an old school favorite of mine; Mussels. They’re easy to make, use few key ingredients and are rather addicting once you sample a few. The broth is really what ties everything together, with thick slices of fresh bread for dipping. This certainly isn’t a fancy dish and that’s part of its glory!
We’ve created a tradition of staying in for big nights like Valentines Day or Anniversaries. We get our favorites wine & foods and spend the night at home, instead of going to super crowded and loud restaurants. Don’t get me wrong, I love those places and I’m actually late getting ready to go out for dinner & drinks. But those special nights I like being at home, hidden away from the craziness of the city, with my favorite person in the world, in our own private retreat. We always include mussels in the mix on those special days. One of us always reminding the other of that first home cooked meal together.
- 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de bearded
- ¼ cup butter, ½ stick
- 1 fresh fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- ½ bottle dry white wine
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- a small handful of flat leaf parsley
- garnish with lemon wedge
- Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add chopped fennel, shallots, garlic and fennel seeds. Sauté until fennel is tender, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cream and boil until liquid thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Add mussels. Cover and cook until mussels open, about 5 minutes. Discard any mussels that do not open. Ladle broth overtop and sprinkle with flat leaf parsley.
- Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with fresh bread!
Once mussels are cooked I discard any mussels that do not open.
I normally serve this family style at home but feel free to separate into individual bowls and ladle the broth overtop.