This week's blog comes to you from Deer Isle, Maine, where I've been visiting a different farmer's market every day (so far, the sweet and simple Brooksville market is my fave, though we'll be hitting Stonington's farmers market - with its 70 vendors - this morning before the long drive home, so that could change).I've been eating SO local that I'm afraid I'm going to sprout pincers.
Yesterday for lunch, we made a giant salad with rosy chunks of leftover steamed lobster, local mesclun, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, paper thin shavings of some local blue cheese, hard-boiled eggs from chickens down the road and chives, basil & lemon thyme from our rental cottage's herb garden, all tossed in a classic vinaigrette. Divine. To take a bread from lobster, we'd hoped to go mussel-ing but ran out of time.
Fortunately, you don't have to be in Maine to enjoy great shellfish. Pura Vida Fishery always has pecks of mussels from the Hampton Bays in their coolers at the market.
I had brought my favorite recipe for Moules Mariniere with me...but now I'll just make this bistro classic - always a crowd pleaser - at home with mussels local to 10706.
Moules a la Mariniere
3-4 pounds of mussels
4 shallots, finely chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
2 bay leaves
2 cups of dry white wine like a muscadet
100g butter (7 tbs) cubed
A medium bunch of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1. Rinse the mussels in cold running water, and then give them a good scrub and scrape to remove any barnacles or dirt. Discard any with broken shells, and give any open ones a sharp tap: if they don't close, then throw them away too, because they're dead. Pull out the beards – the fibrous little appendages which the mussels use to attach themselves to ropes or rocks, by pulling them sharply towards the hinge end of the mussel, then leave them to sit in cold water for a couple of hours until ready to use.
2. Put the chopped shallots, thyme leaves, bay leaf and wine into a large pan, and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down, and cook gently for 10 minutes, then turn up the heat to medium-high.
3. Drain the mussels and tip into the pan. Cover and cook until most of them have opened: about 3 minutes.
4. Add the butter and put the lid back on for 30 seconds to allow it to melt. Add the parsley and shake the pan well to distribute, then season gently and serve immediately, discarding any mussels which remain closed.
See you at the market!
MILTON will be performing at 10:30
The Knife Sharpener WILL be here.
It should be a glorious swan song to summer...