Mussels with Riesling, Citrus and Saffron
- TOTAL TIME: 50 MIN
- SERVINGS: 8 first-course servings
The light, creamy Riesling sauce is a great showcase for plump mussels. Fresh citrus, saffron and olives give the dish its Moroccan character.
- 2 navel oranges
- 1 ruby red grapefruit
- 1 1/4 cups Riesling
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 4 thyme sprigs
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Toasted brioche croutons (see Note), sliced pitted Moroccan olives and pea shoots, for garnish
- Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges and grapefruit, removing all of the bitter white pith. Cut in between the membranes and release the sections into a bowl. Coarsely chop the sections and return to the bowl.
- In a large pot, combine the Riesling, water, thyme and garlic and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook until the shells open, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mussels to a bowl and remove them from the shells.
- Strain the broth and return it to the pot. Add the saffron and orange zest and boil until the broth is reduced to 2 cups, about 8 minutes. Add the cream and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and swirl until melted. Add the mussels.
- Spoon the mussels and broth into bowls. Garnish with the chopped citrus, brioche croutons, olives and pea shoots and serve.
It’s certainly not mandatory, but pairing a dish that has wine in it with the same sort of wine often makes for a good match. Zesty Australian Riesling pairs especially well with the citrus in this dish.