We had a very Cape Cod day the other day. Gussie and I went out on our bikes to the local waterway. We swam and lounged in the sand. We stopped on the way back when we heard the jingling sounds of the Ice Cream truck. And, as it was on my way home, I stopped at our local Fish Monger. I hadn’t much on me (Cash being the payment of a 50’s gal) but enough to get a few pounds of mussels and 1/2 pound of scallops.
I felt very Cape Cod: happily riding along the water on my vintage bike, my skirts happily flapping in the breeze, and my basket full of fresh shellfish.
Here was one of the plates of my delicious haul. Steamers and oysters are usually more sough after than mussels, so they are therefore more affordable. I like the taste of all seafood and shell fish. Mussels, however, are so wonderfully easy to cook and yet can often impress guests.
Usually we would simply stem them in a lobster pot with simply an inch or two of beer or white wine and they are still wonderful. But, sometimes I like to make them as I did here. I cook up butter and olive oil, garlic and various fresh herbs from the garden. This time I did basil and some thyme and just a sprig of rosemary. I get that cooking until the garlic just softens sweet and then in go the mussels (shells and all of course. Running them under cool water and picking any beards as need be. If there are any open that won’t close, discard those, they have died).
Then I just pour in some white wine, maybe 3/4 of a cup or so. I just pour until I smell the sweet aroma of the wine mingled with the herbs and garlic. Let them steam about 3-5 minutes. Then, as they are opening, give them all a good stir. This mingles the lovely broth with all those delicious opening mussels. And I steam another 3 minutes. Then simply scoop out onto a plate or in a bowl and I pour some of the broth over them, as it has such a good taste. Garnish with some fresh basil and there you go.
Look how lovely they look and I even captured the steam rising from the plate. They are sweet and wonderful and of course are served with drawn butter. Many people who find they don’t like steamers of other shellfish, often like mussels. Their taste is not as strong and they are not prone to the bellies of a clam. As my pocketbook could only allot a small amount of scallops, I sliced them up and rolled them in bread crumbs and some powdered onion soup mix. I know, any purists out there might shutter at that, “Onion soup mix”, but least we not forget I have been living in the 1950’s for some time now. And any self respecting homemaker will have a packet of onion soup mix handy to make anything from a sour cream based dip for a bridge game or cocktails, an additive to her own soup stock, or as a sprinkle on chicken or any meat to add zest.
These were simply flash fried in olive oil for about 2 minutes and plated with some fresh tomatoes with again fresh basil from the yard. Such an easy dinner and yet so delicious and again, very Cape Cod Summer.
Always provide a bowl or some recepticle for you and your guests to place the empty discarded mussel shells as they eat them up. I always love the look of the bowl of empty shells as we sit back, bellies full, and sip our second glass of wine or a G & T with a sprig of fresh Lemon Balm in.
I hope all are having a lovely day and that you can enjoy your own area’s Summer greats. Don’t forget, wherever you live, some may consider it a summer vacation spot. Think of what strangers would do in your town for a fun Summer day and then you do it. We often ignore the fun and advantages in our own back yards. Staycations can be anytime, not just during designated week long holidays.
Happy Homemaking. No News today. I am considering changing the format to a weekly news day of multiple pages.