Mussels and linguine

I just love mussels and I recently learned another trick that has changed my life. Nothing better to use for a shellfish "fork" than an empty shell. There's no need to buy those tedious little forks that get lost in the dishwasher. Use an empty shell like tongs and it works great to get the meat out of the other shells. Here's a tasty and simple way to prepare mussels to use over whole grain linguine.

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 pounds mussels, debearded of the main beard. I don't worry about barnacles and other stuff on the shells.
  • 4 canned plum tomatoes from BPA free, no added salt can (it's winter --- real tomatoes won't be here for months)
  • 1 Tablespoon each chopped fresh basil and tarragon (or heaping teaspoon of each dried herb in the off season)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 ounces whole grain linguine ( I really like farro pasta)

Directions

Begin heating a big pot of water in which to cook the pasta. Heat the oil in a large saute pan that has a lid. Saute the garlic and crushed chilies until the garlic is barely beginning to turn brown. Turn the heat to medium-high then add the wine and mussels. Season with a bit of salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook for just a couple minutes until the mussels are opening. Remove them to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Here's where you are supposed to throw away any that do not open but no one ever says how open is "not open". Use your judgement. Start cooking the pasta. Cook the pan juices down until reduced by about half. Break up the tomatoes with your fingers as you add them. In summer, the tomatoes would be chopped into chunks. Cook briefly. Add the herbs then the mussels back to the pan. Reheat briefly and adjust seasoning. Serve in big bowls over the pasta. I can't resist also having some thick slices of crusty whole grain bread that I have rubbed with garlic before baking in the oven at 350 or so until starting to brown then drizzled with recently pressed extra virgin olive oil. Works great to soak up the juices. Serve with a big green salad dressed with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette (juice one lemon, one minced garlic clove, salt, pepper, and twice as much evoo). Enjoy

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 646
  • Total fat: 17 g
  • Cholesterol: 38 mg
  • Sodium: 2362 mg
  • Potassium: 558 mg
  • Fiber: 7.2 g
  • Sugar: 9 g
  • Protein: 34 g

Contributor

Preston Maring, MD