Creole Creed Broiled Mussels with Basil Pesto & Garlic Toast Recipe
Today we are going to explore a superfood straight out the sea, Mussels. Yes, mussels are considered a superfood because it actually increases your mood levels. I don't know about you but I could use the benefits of these sweet babies more often. They also improve clarity and keeps your brain healthy. They lift you up, and is apparently loaded with vitamin B12, Zinc, Iodine and Selenium. It appears that mussels are good for the body, mind and ultimately the soul. Look Here I am sold!
Mussels happen to be in season now, actually you can catch them in any month that has an “R” in its name. Make sure you select the ones that are completely closed shut, if you find that an opened mussel made its way into the bag throw it out because it’s already dead. My go to recipe for preparing these scrumptious little delights usually consist of making a pot liquor made of wine, broth, a load of garlic, shallots, peppers, tomatoes, some sausage, maybe some mushrooms & potatoes, spiced up real nice with oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper, and parsley then bathing them in this deliciousness until they pop open and serving with garlic sourdough loaf on the side. But, today we are going to explore the influences around us and take you on a journey. So before we get off into the recipe, I must explain where the inspiration and influence came from in approaching this dish. Come with me!
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, we were exposed to so many cultures and no doubt were influenced by their food. There was this Vietnamese restaurant by the name of Thang Long out in the Sunset district by the beach. My mother would take me there on occasion when I was a young girl and we would enjoy the now world famous Garlic Crab, and Garlic Noodles, and the owner at the time Ms. Diana and her daughter would come and talk with my Mom and I for awhile. She would always make sure I had dessert which was the Fried Banana with ice cream. This was one my mother and I’s favorite spots to go, and we always without a doubt ordered the crab and noodles.
It was only by the time I was grown and they open their second location on Polk street, called Crustaceans, did I try the mussels. OMG! They were so freakin delicious, I was having spasms in my seat, no lie. Since then I have always wanted to try my hand at them and at the same time make it my own version, something to be proud of. BTW: That Garlic Crab and Garlic Noodle I can now make in my own kitchen! I had no choice, because when I was craving the flavor and my pockets were thin, something had to shake, if you know what I mean. Anyhow, this establishment has come a long way from its humble beginning but one thing’s for sure the taste is still the same, and serves as my main inspiration for this dish and many others we have in our arsenal. Let’s get to it!
Creole Creed Broiled Mussels with Basil Pesto & Garlic Toast
For the Pot Liquor:
2 pounds of Mussels (I like the New Zealand green lip mussels).
1 - 2 cups of dry white wine (if it's good enough to sip then it's good enough for the pot)
½ stick of Butter, no substitutes
4 cloves of garlic minced
3 Tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon Creole Creed seasoning
Basil Pesto Creole Creed Style: (BTW: You want to prepare this first, you can even do it in advanced and store in the fridge or freeze. This pesto is so good you can put it on chicken, fish, noodles, whatever!)
1 cup Sesame Oil
½ cup dry roasted peanuts unsalted (If you have a peanut allergy, roasted cashews, walnuts, pine nuts, hemp seeds even can work)
2 Tablespoon Vietnamese Fish Sauce
1 - 2 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3 -4 cloves garlic
1 Serrano Chili
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves ( I prefer the Thai Basil or Holy Basil)
1 cup firmly packed Cilantro Sprigs
½ cup firmly packed flat-leaf parsley
Extra Item: ½ to a Cup of Parmesan Reggiano freshly grated..
Note: I don't add this to the actual pesto mix because i prefer it that way, and I also find that it freezes better without the cheese added. I like to sprinkle on top of the mussels once they have been dressed with the pesto and ready to go under the broiler.
Garlic Bread Toast
I love a French baguette or Sourdough Loaf for this one. Whatever kind of crusty bread will do.
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup salted butter soften
3 cloves garlic finely minced
Scant of parsley flake
Scant of paprika (sweet or smoky whichever you prefer)
Creole Creed Basil Pesto
Process oil, peanuts, fish sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic,chilli, and cayenne pepper until smooth.
Then add the basil, cilantro, and parsley, pulse your processor to incorporate the herbs in the mixture. Stir in the lime juice one tablespoon at time and taste in between. Stir in a little more sesame oil to loosen the mixture a little bit.
For the Pot Liquor
Throw down your butter in a deep cast iron pot or a dutch oven on medium to low heat
Add your garlic and shallots and caramelized, season with the Creole Creed Seasoning once the mixture turns a yellowish brown color and add your wine
Turn heat down low cover and let simmer if you find that your liquid is evaporating you can add a little bit more wine or chicken stock.
For the Mussels
Clean Mussels by placing them in a large bowl with Cold Water for 10 minutes. This will help loosen any dirt / sand that maybe on them, after their bath gently scoop them out one at time and scrub under running water. If you find they are still dirty, repeat this step.
While bathing and scrubbing your mussels, check to make sure the bissus (beard) is removed, if you find one yank it towards the hinge or use a knife to remove. Discard any chipped shells or the ones that are not completely shut.
Place the mussels in the simmering pot liquor and steam on high heat for 6 minutes. Check them out in 3 to 4 min to see if they popped open.
After mussels have opened, take a slotted spoon and place your mussels on a baking sheet.
Once they have cooled a bit twist off the top shell and discard or keep for another recipe / project. Also all that good juice from the pot liquor, should be saved. You can make more mussels or maybe you want to sopp it up with some bread or toss in noodles. It freezes well.
Top each Mussel with Pesto and a dash of grated cheese
Set your broiler to 500 degrees
Broil until bubbling hot about 2 minutes
For the Garlic Toast
Mix your oil, butter, minced garlic together
Slice your loaf in half and brush mixture on both pieces
Sprinkle with parsley flake and paprika
Broil in oven at 500 degrees until golden brown for about 2 -3 min depending how thick your bread is
Serve your mussels immediately alongside the garlic toast and a glass of that white wine, and prepare to elevate, mind, body and soul.