THANKFUL FOR MUSSELS

When the Pilgrims arrived in America, they were amazed at the bounty they found in the New World.  Here game abounded free and unrestricted. Here no monarch claimed ownership of land and sea.

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Instead, the forests overflowed with wild deer and a strange large bird miss identified as a guinea fowl from Turkey. Along the shore, clams and oysters grew as far as the eye could see. But especially prized were the rich savory mussels that clung to rocks along the shore.

Culinary historians are quite sure that mussels, along with clams and oysters, were on the first Thanksgiving table. Once the colony was established, it wasn’t long until livestock from cattle to chickens arrived.

Today both traditional and contemporary dishes are served at Thanksgiving. One modern favorite is…

Mussels and Sausage

 Ingredients

  • 4 pounds Taylor Shellfish Farms Mediterranean Mussels
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 6 slices ham, finely chopped
  • 1 2/3 cups good-quality pork sausage meat
  • ½ cup white wine
  • A large bunch of parsley, chopped finely
  • 4 slices of fresh breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • Black pepper for seasoning

Directions

  1. Clean the mussels under cold running water.
  2. Place them in a large pot, add white wine and a dash of black pepper.
  3. Cover and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes or until mussels are open.
  4. Drain and set aside in a large bowl, reserving a few ladles of the liquid in another bowl.
  5. In the same pot, melt the butter on a low heat and fry the shallots and garlic until golden.
  6. Set aside.
  7. In the same pot, add more butter and fry the sausage meat and ham on a medium heat until golden.
  8. To avoid lumps, use a fork and press to crumble.
  9. Heat one to two tablespoon of olive oil in a pan.
  10. Fry the breadcrumbs until golden and slightly crunchy.
  11. Set aside.
  12. Return the mussels to the pot.
  13. Mix all the ingredients together.
  14. Make sure that the sausage meat, ham, garlic mixture coat the mussels.
  15. Add a ladle of mussel cooking liquid if you wish.
  16. Add the fried breadcrumbs and parsley, mix well.
  17. Serve immediately.