Serves 3 to 4
Steamed PEI mussels with wine, shallots, and garlic in egg cream sauce, myoga ginger and scallion
During this festive time of year, crafting menus for holiday gatherings comes to mind. And there are few holiday meals as familiar as the Italian “Feast of Seven Fishes.” Ironically, structuring the meal around seafood comes from a Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat until the feast of Christmas Day. But if you’re lucky enough to be invited to an Italian home on Christmas Eve, you’re likely to encounter a meal that feels delightfully abundant — with a wide variety of the ocean’s greatest treasures cooked to perfection.
Whether you’re looking to add to your Christmas Eve line-up or are simply in the market for a healthy-yet-celebratory seafood dish, you’ll find that mussels are a fan favorite. I started making a variation on this dish I found years ago in an old French Country cookbook, but over the years I have finessed it. It’s satisfying, succulent and briney, yet delectably mellowed by egg and cream.
The health angle of the preparation is the nutritional value of the mussels. PEI Mussels are a good source of vitamin C, which is rare among protein sources and they provide other antioxidants, as well. In addition, a serving of PEI Mussels also provides an impressive 18 grams of protein. They’re also high in vitamin B12 and are an excellent source of iron, an important factor in red blood cell formation. And for the eco-concerned, mussels are a type of shellfish which can be farmed in environmentally sound ways. Healthy holidays!
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 pounds PEI mussels scrubbed and debearded
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ground black pepper
- 3 scallions cut in 1/4 diagonal slices
- 1 myoga ginger, sliced lengthwise
- In a large sauce pan over medium heat, cook the shallots in the olive oil stirring occasionally for three minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute (but be sure not to burn it). Add the mussels, wine and sprigs of thyme, then cover the pan.
- Steam the mussels, shaking the pan occasionally for five to seven minutes or until the shells have opened. Discard any unopened shells. With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a bowl and keep warm.
- Strain the broth through a sieve into a medium saucepan. Over medium-high heat, reduce the strained cooking liquid to one cup.
- While sauce is reducing, remove the mussels from the shells.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and egg yolks. Reduce the heat under the saucepan to low. Add the cream mixture to the cooking liquid and whisk until thickened slightly. Add lemon juice and pepper to taste.
Arrange about a quarter of the mussels in a circle in the serving vessels before pouring the egg cream sauce in the center. Then, garnish the mussels with slivers of scallion and myoga ginger and serve. Recipe serves three to four.
Last modified: June 15, 2018