I may not be French, but a bowl of mussels makes me feel a bit more like a Parisian (although I believe the dish originated in Begium). Before I moved to New York, I don’t think I’d even tried mussels – seen them on the beaches in California , yes, eaten them – no.
Its no surprise then I found a few Americans in Paris who created one of my favorite renditions yet at Ellsworth. So fragrant and light, with its mix of white wine, smoked potato, beetroot, garlic and lemon – its a dish perfect for anytime of year, especially desirable with a side of fresh bread.
The surprisingly short list of straightforward ingredients makes me feel confident this is a dish that will be made time and again. So here for you now, a delicious recipe for a real classic : mussels!
1. Peel the potato and dice it into small cubes. Cover potatoes in water in a pot and add a bit of salt, bring to a boil just until potatoes are cooked.
2. Drain the potatoes and smoke in a smoker with wood chips. If you don’t have a smoker you can create a makeshift smoker, line a pan with aluminum foil. Add a layer of wet wood chips and put a perforated pan on top of it. Add potatoes to the perforated pan and cover with a lid. Put it on the stovetop on medium heat until you see smoke coming out the sides, let cook for 2 minutes to allow smoke to infuse into the potatoes.
Remove potatoes from the smoker and toss in sherry vinegar. Check seasoning and add salt if necessary.
3. To cook mussels, melt butter in a large pan on high heat. Add garlic and swirl around to incorporate. Add mussels to the pan and stir for 1 minute to cover them in the butter and garlic.
4. Add water and white wine to pan, and cover with a lid, steam for 2-3 minutes until the mussels open. Add potatoes, cook for another 30 seconds.
5. Ladle mussels into bowls with potatoes and broth, and garnish with parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Eat with bread to soak up the liquid.