Say hello to my new favorite seafood to make at home…Mussels Provencal…
I have been absolutely DYING to make this since way back in December when Matt and I went to a restaurant in Pittsburgh and had something similar to it as an appetizer. It’s one of those places with a chalkboard menu that changes on a weekly basis and only offers minimal options, so that they can give incredible attention to what the chef decides to serve. Everything we ate was amazing, but for some reason the mussels stood out as something I knew I’d want to try and recreate at home. And so I was immediately on a mission…
On our way back to Michigan, we hit a pretty nasty snow storm about 35 minutes from home. I was a white knuckled passenger trying to stay calm, and as we got closer to the only place we could stop for the night, the idea sounded more and more like the right thing to do. So we stopped and made the best out of it by finding a funky new place to eat that we HAVE to go back to sometime because they have a burger with peanut butter and bacon jam on it and I’m completely intrigued. Then we watched Sully with some wine and hit the hay so that we could wake up and go to two of my most favorite places….Costco and Whole Foods. Just a little background info about where we live…
It’s a small town. And I absolutely LOVE it. We have everything we need and what we don’t have, is really only a short jaunt away, maybe between 35 minutes to an hour. I don’t miss having proximity to a gazillion different restaurants and stores and-and-and in the least bit. In fact, sometimes I think I’ve grown so accustomed to our small little community that I actually have an aversion to it now. But what I do miss having right down the road is a Costco and Whole Foods. And let’s just go ahead and get greedy by throwing Trader Joe’s in there. I miss having high quality, fresh seafood that I can trust at my fingertips. We have incredible butcher markets sprinkled around the area, but I hadn’t found a local source for seafood until just a couple of weeks ago. So part of the major excitement I had when we decided to pull over for the night, was that we could get up in the morning and go to Whole Foods to get mussels to bring back home with us. Here comes my sad face…
We got up, had our coffee, and I had a little skip in my step as we headed out to acquire the little morsels of deliciousness that I couldn’t wait to come home and cook. AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE ANY IN!!! Nooooooo….
I think my response was even a little bit like a disappointed child’s would be…kind of like ‘ahhhhh, are you serious?’ Like if I kept asking in a different way, that somehow she could magically make their supply order arrive 4 hours early or something. In a perfect world… Anyways, we left without the mussels and me with some disappointment that eventually faded, and for whatever reason I haven’t taken a day to get back there since. But I’ve still had this recipe in the back of my mind, which is why it was so awesome to have found a local seafood market on our adventure a couple of weeks ago JUST A FEW MILES DOWN THE ROAD! And they can order me fresh mussels any time I want! This find was like Cinco de Mayo coming early…
So we ordered 2 pounds the day we found the market, and picked them up a few days later. The night we made these for the first time, I think we both thought we’d died and gone to heaven. We just kept saying ‘these are soooo good, these are soooo good’ over and over again. And the next morning I called Rachel (owner of the market) back and ordered 2 more pounds so that I could make them again to shoot for sharing here with you. The first time we made them, we ate them with a big salad and crusty sourdough bread for soaking up all those decadent juices. Yesterday we went the pasta route and boiled up some angel hair to serve them over. Both ways…amazing. If you like mussels, and haven’t made them at home either because you have that ‘no way can I make those’ feeling, or just because, I highly encourage you to make them sometime. If you can chop, stir, bring a broth to boil, watch for shells to open, you can make this recipe. It is literally one of the simplest dishes I’ve ever made and SO worth the attempt because, like I said above, it’s my new favorite seafood to make at home. ENJOY!!!
Even just in the colander they’re so pretty…
I mean, how could you not??
Prince Edward Mussels Provencal
Yield 2-4 people depending on what you're serving with it
- 2 pounds fresh Prince Edward mussels (or just mussels on the smaller side)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, small diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup light ale, or dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 14-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, drained but not rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the mussels into a colander and rinse under cold water. Check the mussels for any that are opened. Discard any mussels whose shells will not stay closed or are just plain wide open.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large stockpot or dutch oven. Add in the onions and cook until slightly translucent and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Add in the garlic, oregano, thyme sprigs, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Continue cooking for 1 minute more.
- Pour in the ale and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add in the tomato paste and tomatoes and stir until the tomato paste dissolves. Bring the broth back up to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot. Continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes to allow the flavors to develop more.
- Gently add the mussels to the pan and bring the broth back up to a simmer. Place the lid back on the pan and steam the mussels for 5-10 minutes, checking them occasionally. The mussels are cooked once their shells open up and they are no longer translucent. Remove the mussels with tongs as they cook and place them into a big bowl to allow space for the remaining ones to open up.
- Once all of the mussels are cooked, place them all back into the pan to reheat with the broth. Serve over angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, or nice crusty bread. ENJOY!!!