Poached Mussels in Ginger, Shallots, Garlic and White Wine Broth
I find that there is always something comforting about sinking my teeth into a golden, crunchy and garlicky-buttery toasted bread and then immediately follow this act, without even a moment’s hesitation, slurping a spoonful of flavourful broth headily infused with the spiciness of ginger, mild and timid oniony nuance of shallots and pungent punch of garlic all melded with the light and clean taste of the sea provided by the juices of plump and meaty mussels which was finally rounded off with the earthy fruitiness of dry white wine… why, just imagining the act of eating such a meal itself is already a mouthful of heaven really.
The garlic bread that accompanied this dish is very simple to make. I used Ciabatta bread which I sliced in halves.
The secret to making the most flavourful and garlicky garlic bread is to start with a cold sauce pan and into it add softened butter along with finely minced garlic. Melt and saute the mixture over medium heat until the heady scent of garlic permeates the air and it gets soft but not browned.
Remove the sauteed mixture from heat and add chopped parsley.
Spoon and spread the garlicky melted butter on slices of ciabatta (or french bread/baguette) and toast in a 350’F preheated oven for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.
For the Poached Mussels
2 pounds of mussels
6 shallot bulbs, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
half a golf ball size of ginger, sliced thinly
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
250ml dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley
lemon wedges (to serve on the side)
Soak the mussels in cold and clean water. Sort, debeard and scrape off any barnacles left on the shells. Discard the mussels that haven’t closed.
Take a large pan with a lid. Into the pan over medium heat, add the butter and saute the aromatics (ginger, shallots and garlic) then add the dry white wine and water. Simmer broth for 5 minutes just to develop flavour.
Tumble the mussels into the broth and poached (over low heat… gentle bubbles… closed lid) for 5-6 minutes. Shake pan around as the mussels cook.
The mussels should have opened when you lift the lid. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened.
*Basic principle in dealing with mussels is, when raw and after soaking, discard opened ones. When cooked, discard unopened ones.
Before serving, sprinkle with chopped parsley and place lemon wedges all around the serving dish/bowl to squeeze over and add citrusy brightness in the broth.