Mussels with Saffron and Citrus

Chef Mourad Lahlou simmers mussels in a lovely saffron cream sauce. Lahlou prefers Mediterranean mussels. "The ones I get are called that, but they really come from the Pacific Northwest," he says. "They're plump, juicy and don't toughen up as much as other varieties when you cook them."

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4 to 6
KEY: Winter, Valentine's Day, Mediterranean, Fast, Dinner

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups Riesling
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Grilled bread, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large, wide saucepan, combine the wine, water, thyme and garlic and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook over moderately high heat, shaking the pot a few times, until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a large bowl.
  2. Pour the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large heatproof measuring cup. Wash the pot and pour in the cooking liquid, leaving behind any grit. Boil the cooking liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cream, saffron and citrus zests and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter until melted, then stir in the mussels until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and serve with grilled bread.
Contributed By Photo © Fredrika Stjarne Published July 2014

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