My friend (the foodie) Gwen gives me a cookbook every year for my birthday. Lucky me! Many of my most favorites were gifts from Gwen, including Plenty, Jerusalem, New Food Fast, The Slanted Door and Mexico. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I thought I'd post a recipe for Mussels with Cilantro from Margarita Carrilo Arronte's amazing book. Grab a crusty baguette and you've got yourself a Mexican meal for tonight.
- 2 1/2 lbs. fresh mussels
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1-3 cuaresmeño or serrano chiles, membranes and seeds removed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 bunch parsley, leaves only
- Sea salt
- 4 tablespoons chicken stock
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons corn or olive oil
- Cilantro leaves, to garnish
- Crusty bread, to serve
- Rinse the mussels under cold running water, and use a small knife to scrape any barnacles off the shells and pull of the hairy beards. (Discard any mussels that are broken or do not close when tapped firmly on the shell.) Set aside.
- Put the peppercorns, chiles, garlic, cilantro, parsley, salt, chicken stock, and sugar into a food processor or blender and process until it is a smooth paste. Strain into a bowl.
- Heat the oil in a wok or a heavy skillet or sauté pan with a lid over medium heat. When it is hot, add the paste and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the mussels and shake the pan to mix everything together well. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes or until the mussels open. Check the seasoning and discard any mussels that are still closed.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve immediately with crusty bread.