Recipe: Mussels with White Wine & Tomato

~ This is Day 75 ~

I get asked how to make this quite often from friends and family so I’m just going to write this really quickly. This is my favorite way to make mussels and clams. The best part after the mussels/clams? The bread dunking into the rich broth and into your mouth part.

  • 2 lbs mussels
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes (or substitute one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes)
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • ¼ cup butter (optional)
  • ½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon

Finely chop the onion and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Dice your tomatoes if using fresh ones. Finely chop your parsley, reserve some for garnish.

Scrub the mussels and toss out the dead/damaged ones. If they’re open and don’t close when you poke them, they’re bad. Remove the beards if they have them. Set aside.

In a large pot with lid, heat up enough olive oil to almost cover base of pot. Sweat onions and garlic until aromatic and tender. Add in diced tomatoes and thyme. Season a little with salt, turn heat to medium. Cook for 2 minutes, then add in the tomato paste and cook that out, 3-5 minutes. Add the butter if adding and let the butter emulsify with everything. Once butter has melted, add in the mussels. Turn heat to high, season with salt and black pepper, and add the white wine. Cover with lid, mussels are ready once they open completely, 5-7 minutes. Before you take them out and off the heat, add in most of your chopped parsley and the juice of half a lemon, stir to combine well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Once in a bowl, add the remaining parsley on top as garnish. Serve with toasted bread. I always eat it with ciabatta. Any bread will suffice, pick your favorite!

*For clams, I like to add bacon and hot paprika to this.

Dry-Aged Duck Breast with Hoisin & Pickled Cucumber

With the pasta being rather difficult to make in a tiny studio apartment, I wanted everything else to be relatively easy. Sometimes easy and simple is the way to go, especially when using dry-aged duck breast. The flavors are more intense so you don’t need much to accompany the duck breast.

So here is Dry-Aged Duck Breast with Homemade Hoisin Sauce with Ume Boshi, Pickled Cucumber, and Chive Oil.

Quail with Autumn Mushrooms

I was going to put more egg (a quail egg) in this holiday menu but as I was writing the prep list, I realized that it’s too much and that the quail egg isn’t completely necessary.

I wasn’t set on one mushroom for this dish. I was open to all that was available! That meant going to the farmer’s market. I also thought I had two weekends before Thanksgiving to prep but after looking at the calendar, I only had one! Food shopping in NYC is difficult because I am only one person with two hands and two shoulders. And bags get heavy quick. The farmer’s market at Union Square is open every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The best days, in my opinion, are Wednesdays and Fridays.

I didn’t want to risk it so I bought my mushrooms at the biggest Whole Foods Market, the one on Houston/Bowery. Their mushrooms were pretty good, I was there picking through all the nice chanterelles and all the nice king trumpets to put in my bag. And being a Prime member has its benefits!!! I wanted black trumpets too but they didn’t have any. I bought baby Bellas (aka small portobello aka baby cremini) for the purée. And good thing I went to Whole Foods because the market had almost nothing/really shitty mushrooms.

Here you have Quail that was brined then seared, cooked to medium, with a Cremini Purée, roasted Chanterelles and King Trumpets, garnished with its Jus, a Montegrato Pedro Ximénez Reduction, and Crispy Rosemary.

Egg on Egg on Egg

*Biology Class 101: I know sea urchin tongues aren’t really the “roe” but they are the gonads of the creature; for the sake of this post, I am calling them “eggs”. The gonads/sex organs (sometimes also referred to as coral) produce the roe.

Originally, the first course was going to be tuna crudo but I scrapped that idea because I didn’t think it would be a show-stopper!

So here you have Soft Scrambled Eggs folded with Sea Urchin Cream on the bottom, topped with airy Potato Foam, garnished with Sea Urchin Tongues, Trout Roe, Chives, and Pumpernickel Soil.

Plans for Friendsgiving 2019

I’m very early this year for my Friendsgiving menu plans! Inspiration started and I decided to just go with it. I’ve been usually doing dinner for four for the past couple of years because that means less glassware to clean but I want to do six people total this year… Here is what I have so far; I expect menu changes…

Egg on Egg on Egg
Sea Urchin • Soft Scramble • Trout Roe
Potato Foam • Pumpernickel Soil
(1st course)

Quail with Autumn Mushrooms
Chanterelles • King Trumpet • Cremini Purée
Rosemary • Montegrato Pedro Ximénez
(2nd course)

5 Spiced Duck Leg Cappellacci
Celery • Brown Butter • Cured Egg Yolk • Fennel
(3rd course)

Dry Aged Duck Breast
Homemade Hoisin • Pickled Cucumber • Chive Oil
(4th course)

Pear Tart
Ginger Snap • Ginger Ice Cream
(5th course)

Plans for Friendsgiving 2018

I’m super late this year for my Friendsgiving menu. I hope this doesn’t become my new habit because the anxiety doesn’t help.

But here is what I have planned so far. Most of the courses are inspirations or almost near exact replicas from NYC restaurants (i.e. the first three courses). Please forgive me for any originality, it’s been a tiring and stressful year.

Scallop Crudo
Lemon Zest • Brown Butter • Chives
(1st course)

Roasted Kabocha Squash
Stracciatella • Pedro Ximénez • Pepitas
(2nd course)

Duck Leg Confit
Red Mole • Blue Corn Tacos
(3rd course)

Maple Lacquered Duck Breast
Apple Purée • Candied Pecans
(4th course)

Fudge Brownies
Chocolate Sculptures • Vanilla Ice Cream
(5th course)

Lemon Verbena Cured Arctic Char Sandwich

This was one of the last morsels of food that I created before my tenure was up at Degustation. My watermelon “sushi” amuse bouche was on the tasting menu for awhile then and spring was turning into summer so it was the perfect time to change the amuse.

It took me a few tries to perfect this little bite! I experimented with the salinity of the cure, the time of the cure, and the thickness of the potato chip. I really hope I wrote down the recipe because I’d want to do this in the future, whenever I have my own place.

Anyway, here was the new amuse: Lemon Verbena cured Arctic Char, Salmon Roe, Potato Chips, Paddlefish Caviar, and Chive Batons.

Clam Sandwich with Green Goddess

The best clam sandwich that I had was when I went to Cape Cod in the summer of 2016. Fresh clams were shucked, the bellies were separated from the strips, and the bellies were deep-fried. I don’t remember the sauce in the hot-dog bun but all I can remember is that it was the freshest, most succulent, juicy seafood sandwich that I have ever placed in my mouth.

This clam sandwich that I made is nowhere close to the clam belly sandwich that I had in Cape Cod – but it was pretty damn delicious.

This Clam Sandwich was made with Mini Baguettes and I made a Green Goddess sauce and mixed it with lots of fresh Tarragon, Crème Fraîche, Lemon Juice, and Espelette Pepper.

Zucchini Ribbons with Ricotta & Green Goddess

More pumpernickel soil, you must be thinking… I just love using it because it adds great color contrast to a dish and texture!

Whenever I create a successful vegetarian dish, I’m impressed at myself because I really don’t think vegetables are my forte.

So here are Zucchini Ribbons with Housemade Ricotta, Fava Beans, Shaved Cherry Belle Radish, Radish Greens, Pumpernickel Soil, Mint Chiffonade, and a Green Goddess Vinaigrette.

Duck Carnitas

This was the fourth course to my Friendsgiving 2017 dinner.

For those of you new to the site, and to me, I dislike turkey, which is why I always serve duck instead during the holiday. Besides, duck tastes better than turkey. I will even cook chicken before I cook a bleeping turkey!

I usually split the breast and legs for separate courses but this year, I decided to confit both parts and serve them up family-style with tortillas and other accoutrements. I was inspired from Cosme‘s Duck Carnitas – I’ve only read about it, I haven’t had a chance to go in and try it. Hopefully, this was equally amazing!

Along with the Duck Carnitas, I served it with Pickled Onions, freshly shaved Watermelon Radish, Serrano Peppers (not in photo), Micro Celery, Lime (not in photo), and warm Tortillas.

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