I love mussels.
They are like a blank canvas and come to life from so many types of flavors.
Sometimes I will ask my mother, who also loves mussels, “which country would you like to go to?
It could be Asian, French, Italian, Indian – the choices are endless really.
This time my assignment was to use the Swiss chard that mom had brought from the farmer’s market.
I started with some olive oil, heated it in a large wok and added dried red chilies and sliced garlic. Cook this for a few minutes on low heat to draw out the flavor from the garlic. Next add a sliced red onion and the stems of the Swiss chard. Save the green tops for later. Season with salt and cook on high heat for 3-5 minutes.
I took this picture at Whole Foods to show you the Swiss chard. Chop the red stems and cook them first, then add the greens later in the cooking to preserve their vibrant color.
After the onions have browned and softened, add the greens of the chard and I used halved cherry tomatoes. You can use any tomatoes – they add a nice sweetness to the dish.
Now add the washed mussels, juice of a lemon and a cup of sparkling wine or white wine. If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can use chicken or vegetable broth. The wine adds a lovely tangy flavor.
Cover the mussels and cook on high heat. Check in 3-5 minutes. The dish is done when all the mussels have opened. Discard any that didn’t open.
I like to finish the dish with a pat of cold butter. This is of course optional if you are counting your calories – but this one pat of butter rounds off the flavors in the sauce and gives a wonderful mouth feel. Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning. Ladle the mussels, the sauce and the vegetables in large bowls and serve hot.
I like to serve the mussels with slices of crusty baguette to sop up the delicious sauce and of course a glass of the cold sparkling wine I added to the dish.
Please add mussels to your repertoire – they are economical, healthful, delicious and they can be cooked in endless ways.
Until I cook again!