Hi Y’all! I know I’ve been off the blog for a couple of weeks, but we spent a glorious week in the Seattle area and I’m just now getting back to my normal routine. It was so great to get out of this Texas heat! We had some wonderful seafood up there. Of course, it was fresh, fresh, fresh! We went to the Public Market in Seattle and visited the famous fish market and watched them throw the big fish back and forth. Those guys are ka-razy! And, if you stand in the wrong place, you get fish juice slung on you. Ask me how I know!
We ate out a lot, but we also brought some seafood back to our son’s house and grilled out, which kind of goes along with my whole summer grilling blog theme. One of my favorite meals was mussels in white wine butter sauce, cedar planked salmon and grilled asparagus. No restaurant could have outdone us!
The Pacific Northwest is the birthplace of cedar planked and alder planked grilled fish. Thank you very much, Nisqually Indians! Some may argue that the Scandinavian settlers to the area brought this technique with them. I don’t care who takes credit. All I know is, it’s my preferred way of grilling salmon! And, seriously, wouldn’t everything taste better with views like this?
Now, make sure you get culinary cedar or alder planks. Believe it or not, I had a guy at a home improvement store in the grill department tell me he didn’t understand why people paid so much money for two little cedar planks when all they had to do was go to the lumber department and buy a cedar board and cut it down into planks. Uh, maybe because the cedar in the lumber department is treated with cancer causing chemicals to keep it from weathering? Dufus! Duh! So, yes, the culinary planks are a bit pricey, but, instead of following the instructions and tossing them after each use, I just put mine in the dishwasher until; 1. they get so charred on one side I can’t use them anymore, or; 2. they stop smelling like cedar therefore imparting no flavor to the fish. Now, I have an infrared grill, so I don’t get flare ups. My planks last a pretty long time and I don’t have to presoak them in water before grilling. If you’re using a charcoal grill, you will go thru them faster because of the open flame and you will definitely have to follow the presoak instructions to prevent them from catching on fire.
All I put on my salmon is salt, pepper, olive oil and a little dill if I have it. A little lemon juice after cooking is always good. You don’t flip the salmon. Just close the grill lid and let the heat do the work for you. For the grilled asparagus, simple is always good. Just a little salt, pepper and olive oil is all you need!
Now for the mussels! I got these at the Public Market in Seattle also. I checked the harvest date with the fish market dude and they had been harvested the day before! Talk about fresh! They were probably the sweetest mussels I’ve ever had in my life! Oh, and the whole, don’t eat shellfish in months without “R” thing? Well, if it’s farm raised shellfish, that doesn’t apply, so eat ’em to your heart’s content year round! Yay! This recipe is so quick and easy. Now, since we were at our son’s house, I didn’t have the saffron, shallots and all the herbs. Most single guys don’t have that stuff laying around the kitchen! I just used butter, olive oil, white wine, salt, minced garlic and some finely sliced green onions. They were still fantastic! I made these on the stove top and the guys did the grilling while drinking some nice cold craft brews outside in the 70 degree weather. I think they got the better deal!
Mussels in White Wine
So delicious and so easy! Why pay loads of money at a fancy restaurant when it’s so easy to make it at home? Just increase amount of mussels and ingredients for more servings!
Yield: 2 entrée servings, 4 appetizer servings
1 lb. mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped (additional for garnish)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large lidded pan, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook about 3 more minutes, or until shallots are translucent.
- Add the saffron, parsley, thyme, wine, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open).
- With the lid on, shake the pot once or twice to be sure the mussels don’t burn on the bottom.
- Ladle mussels into bowls and pour the sauce over to serve. Garnish with parsley.
If you have questions on how to store and prep fresh mussels, just leave me a comment and I’ll be glad to help you! Hope y’all enjoy!