Fair-Shell And Adieu To You Fair Spanish Ladies!



As it is Shark Week and one of my favorite films/novels is Jaws by Peter Benchley, I thought it would be fun to not only do a video Cooking Adventure, but also a traditional written account of another dish. Therefore, last night after a long day of work, I put my nose to the grindstone and decided to make a recipe that I’ve had my eye on for some time: Mussels in Garlic White Wine Sauce. Yes… It is as good as it sounds. It should be known that since I have a fear of killing crustaceans/living creatures in the pursuit of cooking, I decided to use frozen mussels. They were still in their shells, in air-tight plastic wrap and were just as good as live ones. I also didn’t have to do any de-bearding or washing which is a plus when you work until late and don’t want to do all of that. I suppose it’s cheating but…I don’t really care.

Part one of this delicious recipe has me tossing 3 tbsp. butter into a pan along with 4 cloves of garlic and 1 medium onion. After putting the butter in my wonderful saucier pan and turning on the heat, I turned my attention to the onion that I’d been saving for this momentous occasion. I snagged my santoku knife and a cutting board, slapped the onion down, and began to slice off both ends. I was rewarded with something a little juicier than I’d anticipated…and rather black. The onion had been silently rotting inside (though not visibly outside), and decided to spring this upon me now. With a verbiage that included lots of “ewws” and “icks” and “I need to wash my hands with acid now”, I tossed the onion.

As I closed the cabinet door, I was rewarded with a new sound; a ka-thunk! I turned around and noticed that the bottom hinge on the cabinet door had actually snapped and the door was now hanging at an angle. Amidst a new slew of colorful language, I found my toolkit, grabbed a screwdriver and screw, and set to work on fixing the drawer. After this was all said and done, I discovered that the door would now no longer close. Still reeling from the smell of that rotten onion, I decided to switch the trash over to the other side of the under-the-sink cupboard. This involved lots of moving things around. Basically, by the time I was done, the butter was completely melted and I was wiping sweat off my brow.

I washed my hands from all of the grease and nasty onion residue, washed the knife, and the cutting board and turned my attention to the garlic. I only had three cloves of garlic left in my reserves so I used those, mincing them up, and tossing them into the pool of rapidly melted butter.

As the garlic cooked, I pulled my vacuum-sealed mussels from the freezer, cut them open, broke them apart, and dropped them into the hissing butter. They immediately started to sizzle and a pleasant briny aroma mixed with garlic and butter filled the room. I grabbed my white wine from the wine rack, yanked the cork out, and added a decent splash of that to the mussels, along with pepper and salt. The original recipe also calls for a bay leaf, but since that isn’t among my spice collection, I forwent it.

After another minute, when all of the flavors had mixed and the room smelled heavenly, I dug into the fridge and produced a container of cherry tomatoes. I added about ten or fifteen to the pan and then covered it to let them soften.

After the whole ordeal with the cabinet, I poured myself a glass of wine and then prepared my dinner. It was really more of an appetizer, but seeing as how it was now closing in on 8:30 and I was starved, I was intending to enjoy it as a full meal. I scooped my mussels and some of the broth into a soup cup, grabbed a piece of bread to soak up the juices and set to work. By far, best homemade hors d’oeuvres that I’ve ever done. I only had about half of the batch and then decided to refrigerate the rest to enjoy the next night. That…that was a mistake.

I didn’t end up having them the next night. Or the night after that. Or the night after that. This morning when I realized that they were no longer good and needed to be chucked, I pulled the too-stuffed trash out, opened the container of mussels and tipped it into the trash. There was a mussel tsunami that proceeded to overflow from the bag down onto the floor, soaking a part of my little area rug, the cabinet door, and rapidly leaked across the kitchen floor toward the cat food. As you can expect, this was my reaction.

I quickly broke out the swiffer wet jet and tried to sop up what excess I could with paper towels. I picked up broken shells and other gushy matter, discarding those along the way. Definitely not how I wanted to spend my morning. Nope.

If you’d like to make this recipe for yourselves, without screwing it up in such an epic way as I did, you can find it over at Cooking Melangery.

Stay tuned for one last Shark Week post coming tonight/tomorrow!


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