Mussels with Speck, Lemon and Oregano
- ACTIVE: 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 4 first-course servings
Ethan Stowell loves mussels all year round, but he's particularly fond of the plump summer ones from Washington's Puget Sound. "I often grab a couple handfuls of mussels at the end of the night and cook them at home for a late-night snack," he says. Here he flavors the briny mussels with lemon juice, fresh herbs and speck, the salty cured ham.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- One 3-ounce piece of speck (smoked, cured ham), cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano
- Freshly ground pepper
- In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the speck and garlic and cook over moderate heat until the garlic is tender, about 4 minutes. Add the mussels and wine and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderately high heat until the mussels have opened, about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, parsley and oregano and season with pepper. Spoon the mussels and their broth into warm bowls and serve.
Stowell's briny, citrusy mussels are made for crisp white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or its Spanish alternative, Verdejo, which grows primarily in the western region of the country known as Rueda. Verdejo tends to have Sauvignon Blanc's grapefruity zip without the sharp bell pepper notes that sometimes characterize it.