french fridays with dorie: mussels and chorizo with or without pasta

After last’s week debacle with the Nutella tartine, this week’s selection for French Fridays with Dorie was a welcome change: mussels and chorizo with or without pasta.

Mussels are a long-time favorite at my house. I think they’re the easiest shellfish to prepare. No peeling, and if they don’t have a beard, they just need a quick scrubbing before they’re ready to go in the pot. Mussels are incredibly versatile. And they have a clean, fresh, oceany flavor.

Mussels can be farmed or wild. Whole Foods had wild mussels from Moosabec Mussels, located in Jonesport in Eastern Maine along a beautiful stretch of coastline between one of my favorite places on earth, Acadia National Park, and New Brunswick, Canada.

For this recipe, you start with a base of tomatoes, onions, garlic, white wine, and herbs (I used rosemary). Sliced chorizo gets added to the pot, to add a little bit of spice. The mussels go into the pot for a short steam, 3 to 5 minutes, and after which they pop open, begging to be eaten.

How to serve the cooked mussels? The name of the recipe offers two different options, with or without pasta. For Dinner #1, I served big bowls of mussels with warmed crusty bread to sop up the juices. The two of us ate about half the mussels for that first dinner. With the leftovers, my dear sous-chef/husband plucked the mussels out of their shells and stirred them into the tomato base left in the pot. For Dinner #2 (and Lunch #3), I cooked a box of linguine and tossed with the mussels in sauce.

Both ways were equally delicious. It would be hard to choose a favorite between them. This was a winner no matter how you look at it.

To see the other FFwD bloggers’ experience with this delicious recipe, check out their links here. As for the recipe, we’re asked not to share the recipes, so you’ll have to get your hands on a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s book.

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Posted on 17 February 2012, in French Fridays with Dorie, maine and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I also had a double-whammy with/without pasta week… but I bought the 5-pound Costco bag of mussels. This recipe was definitely a hit both ways and I can’t wait to make it again. I love how it was sweet, salty, and smoky all at the same time. Have a great long weekend!

  2. We love mussels too. So easy and so tasty! This recipe was definitely a winner.

  3. I love that first photo, Betsy. So glad you both enjoyed this one as well! John would have liked it if I had served this as a soup without the pasta, but I loved it with the pasta. I am sure it is delicious both ways though. Have a good weekend!

  4. Your mussels look so yummy! I didn’t have the pasta, but it sounds delicious!

  5. So nice that this one was a winner for you and your husband. Love that you got 3 meals out this. I planned on making pasta the next day but my sous chef/clean-up guy threw out my sauce before I could rescue it! There’s always next time! Great post! Have a lovely weekend!

  6. The bread was certainly required at our hose to sop up all that flavorful sauce. I love this! I would have used pasta to work up the leftovers but we didn’t have any!

  7. This was definitely very flavorful! I think our mussels hailed from Maine as well – access to fresh seafood is definitely a benefit of living not too far from the East coast.

  8. we didnt have any leftovers! but we want to make it with pasta sometime soon!!! :) yours looked great1 how crazy that it stretched out for three meals!!

  9. My dish followed the same evolution too from no pasta to pasta. I think it ought to be renamed to “without pasta first, then with”. :) I remember reading that wild mussels require more thorough cleaning and debearding compared to farmed ones. But the extra effort gets paid off in much better flavour. Is that your experience as well?

  10. We had pasta and loved it! I had never cooked mussels but will be cooking them again! Our Whole Foods only had farmed musslsl from Canada. They were good though!

  11. We love mussels at our house too! It is one of the items that if on a menu I can almost guarantee that my spouse will order, and we love to make them at home – such a simple meal. Loved the sauce on this separately too – I thought it was great on its own.

  12. Your mussels look great! I am definitely going to have to try this recipe again!

  13. We loved the recipe even though I substituted shrimp for the mussels.
    We enjoyed it over the pasta, but I think it would be fantastic using bread
    in the sauce. Your results look wonderful.

  14. We made it with two different types of pasta! That’s how much I loved this with pasta! Besides, it’s easier to get my kids to eat new foods if there are noodles involved!

  15. Two beautiful meals…Great! And sounds like you have a terrific sous-chef. That’s what I’ll need when I catch up on this one. And thanks for the Whole Foods tip. I did not have time to track down fresh mussels this week, but Whole Foods is a good idea.

  16. This is a fantastic recipe – both ways you had it sound wonderful. It’s nice that you were able to source some wild ones, too.

  17. I am so glad you spoke about the Moosabec Mussels – I have been on a PEI kick and need to try something new. Great post!

    • @Julie: I would think Maine and PEI mussels are similar, both coming from cold Atlantic waters. I have to say that the ones I see usually come from Maine though. Must be the geography of where I live and where they are sourced.

  18. Glad to hear that you cook mussels on a regular basis. I do it rarely enough that it’s a little forbidding. I can see how familiarity would breed a lot of good dinners.

  19. How lucky to find wild mussels! Mine were farmed and had to travel across the country, so they weren’t as flavorful as they could have been. This was a great meal!

  20. Glad you enjoyed this one!

  21. This one is worth repeating again and again! Next time I’ll up my amount of mussels and eat my leftovers like you did….mmmmmmm.

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