Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Zealand Greenshell Mussels

Casa Bella Bed and Breakfast is finally open and guests are enjoying our spacious, modern rooms.

Many of the furnishings were purchased locally but we still had to make semi-frequent trips to Piedmont Street in Atlanta for lamps and other small accessories.

We also enjoyed the trip for a nearby Chinese buffet that has really delicious seafood on the menu-including an Asian fried Tilapia that is so crispy and flavorful. Paired with their spicy mussels and sushi I'm a "happy camper".

Unfortunately, we've run out of excuses to hit our favorite buffet so I just had to break down and cook the mussels myself. For me, this is an enjoyable process but requires a little extra knowledge to create the deep, rich broth that flavors the meaty mussels. I buy the mussels at my local Asian mart and keep the in the freezer to enjoy when the mood strikes. A box on the half-shell is plenty for two or three people and also yields the pretty green shells which I saved for an upcoming episode on seafood. I plan to use them for Clams Casino.

Learning a good Asian-inspired broth is worth the effort if only to have it in the refrigerator for use as the base of a thickened sauce for other dishes that require a seafood flavor. I'm thinking a pan-fried shrimp over brown rice. YUM! So here's my recipe for the broth.

Seafood Broth

King crab shells, shrimp shells or other hard shell crustaceans (a handful)
2 cups water
1 tbsp dark miso
1 tbsp black bean curd
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
3 dried red pepper pieces
3 cloves fresh garlic (whole)
1 tbsp chopped green onion

Bring ingredients to a soft boil for ten minutes. Remove shells and allow to simmer.

Adjust broth with 2 tsp of sugar and 2 tsp of fresh squeezed lime juice. I added 2 tsp of diet coke to extend the sweet flavor I wanted.

Add a pinch or piece of the following spices:

star anise (small piece left whole)
small pinch of five spice
grating of nutmeg
small pinch of ginger powder
pinch of red pepper seeds
mint and basil leaves (1 each)

Once my flavoring was to my taste I brought the broth to a gentle boil, added my mussles and turned them gently in my pan for 4 -5 minutes. I added 1 tbsp of additional chopped green onion and turned them one last time. The mussels were served with a small amount of broth ladled over the mussels to keep them warm.

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