This week’s French Friday’s post brings you not only a recipe to curry favor but also is back-loaded with tips, prompts, and fun stuff. This is the Winter of My Wanna Do’s. Admit it, I know you also have your own unwritten want-to-do list. Exercise 3X a week – be healthier. Shoot for the stars – learn constellations. Take more time for friends, a partner or kids. De-clutter – tackle that basement. Read…more. Plan a trip, party or adventure…and do it. You’re shaking your head in agreement, right? Later.
First, let’s talk about Curried Mussels, today’s French Fridays recipe. Yum. Catering to the American palate, this is a lighter knock off of Brittany’s classic Mouclade, mussels in a thick curried egg yolk and cream sauce. I’ve now tasted both, there’s little difference in flavor and goodness. Thanks for cutting the calories, Dorie.
As you’ll notice in the recipe below, curry powder, red pepper flakes and heavy cream define this dish. Onions and shallots, glistening and softened in butter, add the oomph in the mixture. White wine, S/P and fresh herbs help provide a saucy home for the mussels. French fries and a crusty baguette, it’s supper. Your only challenge is to eat, dunk and enjoy this meal without utensils. It’s messy but that’s the rule. (Use one-half of a mussel shell for your spoon.) Let imagination reign. Sandy beach. Côte d’Azur.
One of my Wanna/Gonna Do’s this winter is to deal better with leftover food. I’ve been pulling a low C grade in that department. Not only is food costly but wasting it seems sinful. At least 800 million people in the world go hungry every day. In America, 14.5%, that’s 1 in 6 or 7 Americans, are “food insecure.” As someone whose always had a full belly, I don’t know what “food insecure” feels like. Do you?
Although I’ve learned to halve and even one-third my recipes, I still have leavings (love that word). When I do, I will show you how I incorporated those into future meals. With the leftover Curried Mussels, I made pasta, a no-brainer. While boiling the linguine, sauté red pepper slices and chopped celery in butter until softened. To that add the mussels and remaining curry sauce. Heat gently. (Do not bring the mussels to a boil unless you prefer them rubbery.) Drain the linguine. Mix together and serve.
Last week I blogged about Simplest Breton Fish Soup. With its leftovers, I made a frittata for breakfast and for lunch and for snacks! After removing the mussels use a slotted spoon to put the remaining mixture sans its broth into a saucepan to warm. Adding it to eggs seasoned with salt and pepper creates a delicious frittata or omelet. For breakfast, I added salsa. For lunch, I poured the remaining vinaigrette over it.
There’s something about openly declaring intentions that insists on follow through. So, keep me honest, Readers, with this leftovers Wanna-Do pledge. As for others, I’m already good in the exercise department, have wheedled down my belongings to nil, read constantly and get high marks for communicating with friends, colleagues and family. But here are the Wanna-Dos that I’m turning into Am-Doing this month.
I worry. A lot. Which causes stress. A lot. Many of my worries never materialize or happen. So when a worry crops up in my over-imaginative mind, I now park it, write it down and forget it……until Wednesday at 3pm. Then every Wednesday I revisit my worries at 3pm. What I’ve discovered is some were already solved easily, didn’t and won’t happen or are just plain silly. The two or three remaining on my list, I try to solve. Call me crazy, Readers, but it’s working.
Lastly, if you’ve got an hour to spare for fun, start watching episodes of Borgen, a BBC three-seasons series that explores the world of high-stakes Danish politics. Better than West Wing and available on Netflix, at your library or by streaming.
French Fridays with Dorie is an international online group cooking it’s way through Around My French Table. To see what my colleagues, who probably worry too, made this week, go here.
CURRIED MUSSELS by Dorie Greenspan
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
a pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and ground pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 thyme spring
1 parsley sprig
1 bay leaf
4 pounds mussels,scrubbed (more than ample, Readers)
2/3 cup heavy cream
1. Melt butter in a large Dutch oven at low heat. Toss in the onions and shallots, stirring them to coat with butter until glistening, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle curry powder, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper over the mixture. Cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add wine, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer for 3 more minutes.
2. Add the mussels to the pot, and stir around in the liquid, coating the mussels. Increase the heat to high, bringing the liquid to a boil. Cover with lid. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, stirring once. Take a peek and see if the mussels have opened. If there are still some to open, remove the pot from heat (keeping lid on), let sit for 1-2 more minutes.
3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mussels from the broth and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl to keep mussels warm. Bring the sauce back to a boil and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the heavy cream, add a little more salt and pepper, if needed. Cook on high heat for another 3 minutes. Return the mussels to the pot, stirring around to coat them in the wonderful creamy sauce. Serve immediately.