That’s right. That’s what I’m talking about. The marvelously delicious and so easy to prepare mussel.
It’s a Saturday afternoon. We get a hankering for some mussels. This recipe for Wok Smoked Mussels is one I got from our friend Chef Arnold Wong of Baccars in San Francisco. The ingredients are simple; mussels, a Serrano pepper, some garlic, a bay leaf and some white wine (you could use sake if you wanted to). Get a wok or wide pan, and you are almost ready to go.
Smoked but not Smoked
This Wok Smoked Mussels recipe is not really smoked. Not in the true sense of the word. Smoking generally means using wood to create smoke to infuse the meat. In this case, we are using a super hot pan. This is where a good carbon steel or cast iron wok will work well. You really need to get the pan super hot, smoking hot, so that the mussels practically dance on the surface area. This creates the smokiness.
Where do your Mussels come from?
One thing you have to determine when buying mussels is: are they wild, or farm raised? Each one has to be treated just a bit different. Here is everything you need to know about How to Prepare and Cook Fresh Mussels
A video of how to make Wok Smoked Mussels
We served this dish with a Pinot Gris and some crusty bread that was toasted then rubbed with cloves of garlic. It was a perfect Saturday afternoon lunch.
LindySez: These make a great appetizer for a dinner party, and require no silverware. You can use one side of the shell to spoon the mussel out of the other side of the shell.
Also remember, if the mussel doesn’t open once it’s cooked…it’s not good to eat. Throw it AWAY!
Mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
Grapeseed oil (it's a good neutral oil that has a high smoke point)
2 Serrano or Thai chilies, split
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1/2 cup dry white wine (or as needed depending on how many mussels you are making)
Special equipment: a wok or deep wide frying pan
Heat the wok over high heat, add some oil to coat the bottom and have about 1/4 inch sitting in the base of the wok.
Add the chilies and garlic and quickly toss them in the oil.
Add the mussels and toss with the oil, stir (keep them moving around the wok, changing the bottom ones with the top ones); when half of them are opened, add the bay leaf; toss, then add the wine; immediately light on fire with a match (this is what makes them smokey, you can omit this step and they will still be good, just not as smokey) continue cooking and stirring them until they have opened.
Once most all of them are open, discard any unopened ones. Serve in a deep wide bowl, pouring some of the sauce over them along with some crusty bread.