Sunday, August 22, 2010

Iron Chef Night: MUSSELS!

After reading an article about mussels in the food section of the Washington Post, I decided that I would have another Iron Chef night, with the secret ingredient of MUSSELS!  I made three dishes, with no recipes as a guide.  These plates were solely from my imagination and, to a certain extent, they suffered from my lack of a formal education and/or experience as a chef.  I hesitate to post these recipes, but, anyways, here they are...

Serves several


A small baguette cut into 12-16 thin slices
Butter for each slice of the baguette plus 2 tablespoons of butter
12-16 fresh mussels, cleaned by rinsing mussels under cold water
3 stalks lemongrass, sliced lengthwise
6 bunches Thai basil (3 bunches chopped)
2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cups white wine
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

1. Place the baguette slices on a tray and pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Butter each of the baguette slices, somewhat liberally.  Bake the slices for about 5 to 8 minutes, until they become crisp but before they brown.

2.  In a deep pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium heat, then add the garlic, red onion and 3 basil sprigs.  Saute the ingredients for about 5 minutes.  Add the wine, increase to high and cover.  One the wine begins to boil, add the mussels and cover.  Wait about 5 minutes and check the mussels.  When they are open, they are done.

3.  Arrange the crostini and place one mussel on each crostini.  Sprinkle onions over the crostini and the chopped Thai basil.

4.  You can take the broth in which you cooked the mussels and dip the remaining baguette slices in it.  It is very good.

Serves 2

Ingredients (for the Grilled Octopus and Mussel Salad):

2/3 pounds of baby octopus (about 4 octopi)
1 bag of mussels
2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
4 tablespoons of olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bunches Genovese basil, chopped

Ingredients (for the Herb Salad):
1/2 red onion, sliced
3 small tomatoes, sliced
Balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil
Package herb salad or other salad

1.  Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the octopi.  Boil for 10 minutes and remove. The octopi will have shrunk to about 1/3 of their size.  Place in a plastic bag, add the olive oil and smoked paprika.  Mix the ingredients and let it marinate for 1 to 2 hours at least (preferably longer).

2.  Heat the grill to medium-high heat, add the octopi and grill for about 3-4 minutes. Flip and grill for about 3 minutes more. Remove and slice the octopi.  While the octopi is grilling, grill the mussels using a stone or griddle (so the smaller mussels don't fall through the grates).  The mussels will open after a couple of minutes.  
3.  Mix the octopus and mussels together, sprinkle the chopped basil over the mixture and place in the middle of the herb salad.

Serves 2-4

Ingredients (for the Mussels):
1 bag of mussels
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 bottle of white wine 

Ingredients (for the Potatoes):

1 bag of fingerling potatoes
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
Salt, to taste
Pepper to taste

1.  Start with the potatoes.  Skin the potatoes (I leave some skin on them at the ends to mimic fries).  Wash the potatoes.  Place a sheet of aluminum on a metal tray, place the potatoes and garlic on the tray, and salt and pepper liberally.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees and bake for about 1 hour.

2.  When the potatoes are almost done, heat the wine and in a deep pan to a boil.  When it begins to boil, add the mussels and cover.  After about five minutes and after the mussels have opened, remove them.  Divid ethe mussels into bowls, divide the fries and serve.


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