Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Forget the ham!

We had what might be considered a "non-traditional" New Year's dinner last night: mussels! This is one of our favorite dinners and I use a recipe out of Thomas Keller's Bouchon that is absolutely perfect. After finishing the mussels the broth left behind is a complex mix of garlic, thyme, saffron and mustard.

But last night I made a slight mistake. I was on the phone with my aunt wishing her Happy New Year/Birthday and wasn't really paying close attention to what I was doing and I forgot a key ingredient: saffron. I didn't realize it until Big J said, "This is good, but I like the recipe with saffron better." Damn!

The key to this dinner (other than paying attention) is to have everything else ready to go when the mussels go in the pot because they only take two minutes to cook and they should be served immediately so they don't overcook and get rubbery (nothing worse than a rubbery mollusk!).

The other key is not forcing your five-year old to eat mussels! So instead I sauteed little j some shrimp and cooked up her perennial favorite -- pasta.

On a separate note I highly recommend Bouchon. If you like French bistro fair this amazing and beautiful book has delicious and accessible recipes, most of which are written to serve 4 -- perfect for hosting an intimate dinner party.

New Year's Dinner Menu:
Salad of Mixed Greens with Tuscan Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, and Parmesan Shavings
Mussels with Saffron and Mustard
Sliced Bartlett Pear
Sauvignon Blanc

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