A dish of sake-steamed mussels with fermented carrots was chef Viet Pham's inspiration for this starter.
Slideshow: Mussels Recipes
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium carrot, very thinly sliced
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
24 large mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced chives
Six 2-by-3-inch rectangles of country bread, toasted
6 paper-thin slices of lardo (optional)
How to Make It
In a saucepan, toast the coriander seeds over low heat until fragrant. Add the vinegar, sugar, salt and 1/4 cup of water and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the brine is warm. Stir in the carrot slices and let stand for 1 hour.
Drain the carrot, reserving the pickling liquid. Transfer the carrot and 1 tablespoon of the pickling liquid to a blender. Add the butter and cilantro and puree. Pass the butter through a fine sieve into a bowl and season with salt.
In a saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook just until they open. Drain and remove the mussels from their shells. In a bowl, toss the mussels with the olive oil and chives.
Spread some of the carrot butter on the toasts. Top with the mussels, drape the lardo on top and serve.
The pickled carrot-coriander butter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, well-wrapped in plastic.
The zippy acidity of Muscadet makes it a no-brainer with mussels.
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