Cooking in this city can be tricky. Forget the jacked-up grocery prices — most of us barely have enough counter space to chop an onion. Factor in quirky work schedules and the “it’s easier to eat out” mentality, and you’ve got a city filled with folks cooking less than constantly.
We receive tons of enticing cookbooks here at amNewYork, so we thought it was high time to put them to good use by testing recipes and sharing the results. First up, “For Cod and Country: Simple, Delicious, Sustainable Cooking” by Barton Seaver, a Washington, D.C., chef and National Geographic fellow. The book is a modern manual on all things seafood — both sustainable and tasty.
THE RECIPE: Mussels with mustard and scallions
SERVES: 4, but I served it to two (hungry) people.
EASY, MODERATE OR DIFFICULT: Easy — even for cooks who haven’t attempted mussels before, like me.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Mussels, olive oil, garlic, white wine, salt, whole-grain mustard, scallions, crusty bread.
COST: Low. Despite the fact that mussels are pricey in restaurants, a pound only costs between $5 and $6 at Whole Foods. A bunch of scallions barely cost $1, and I used a half-finished bottle of cheap Savignon Blanc already in my fridge. The other items are mostly pantry staples.
SUBSTITUTIONS: I subbed out whole-grain mustard for Dijon.
SMALL-KITCHEN FRIENDLY? Yes, it’s essentially a one-pot dish with minimal chopping. The only problem: The mussels I bought from Whole Foods hadn’t all been debearded, so that took a little time. Don’t know how to do it? I didn’t either, but a quick YouTube video explained it.
THE RESULT: A savory, surprisingly simple summer entrée. The mussels had just the right amount of flavor — although next time I might kick up the spice a notch by adding more mustard than the ¼ cup the recipe calls for.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed with the back of a knife
4 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded (discard any that won’t close)
1½ cups white wine
¼ cup whole-grain mustard
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 loaf crusty baguette, sliced and toasted
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown. Add the mussels and wait a few minutes until you begin to see some of the shells open. Add the wine and mustard and season the liquid with salt. Cover the pot and cook for 4 minutes. Toss once to allow all the shells to open. If any are not open, cover and cook for another few minutes before removing the pan from the heat.
2. Discard any mussels that haven’t opened at this point. Add the scallions and toss to combine. Divide the mussels and steaming liquid among 4 shallow bowls and serve with toasted bread.