We joined our third CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) recently. We get a half share from Full Circle Farm, which is just three miles from our house. It’s a young farm so we don’t get a huge variety yet, but we also get a half share from Capay Valley Farms, which includes fresh produce from a number of local sources. Our latest membership is in a different kind of CSA – it’s Siren SeaSA, which provides us with fresh seafood every other week.
I thought we were fortunate to live in an area that provides us with in-season produce year round, but the seafood SeaSA is the icing on the cake. We get fish that is about as fresh as we can get in addition to the challenge of cooking something I might not ever attempt. In the case of our first delivery, I never would have tried to cook mussels. I don’t like them – weird texture, too chewy. Larry will eat them but he prefers oysters. Honestly, I was a little scared. I didn’t want to waste two pounds of mussels. I searched through magazines, cookbooks and online resources for a recipe that sounded like it would be easy and settled on this pan-roasted version. Larry was hoping for something that was cooked in a garlic-y butter (similar to escargot). I made a garlic butter on the side instead.
I stored the mussels in the refrigerator on ice until I was ready to clean and debeard them. It was pretty easy, just a quick scrubbing and a pull on the beard to remove it. They smelled fresh and briny, like the sea. A few were partially open so I knocked them together to get them to close (most did). I tossed the ones that stubbornly remained open.
The pan-roasting is about as simple as it gets. The mussels go into a hot cast iron pan (stove-top) and roast until they open up. The meat gets a little brown and has a bit of a smoky flavor. They cook very quickly. And we ate them all. I didn’t love them, but I thought they were the best mussels I’ve ever had. Freshness makes a big difference.
- Pan-Roasted Mussels with Garlic Butter (Restaurant Favorites at Home: A Best Recipe Classic, p. 45)
- Caesar Salad with Focaccia Croutons (The Conscious Cook, p. 57)