The best moules, ever (until next time)

Dorie’s recipe read, “mussels and chorizo with or without pasta,” but she failed to mention that serving this dish, whether with pasta or not, would generate accolades and exclamations of, “Wow, this is really amazing!” I served without pasta, but with crusty French baguette, and was happy to be on the receiving end of the expressions of appreciation.

I’ve only eaten mussels a couple of times in my life, and once was in France, so they were good. I had no idea how to cook them, but in the end, this was simple enough.  The hardest part was buying the four pounds of mussels.  It meant a trek to Whole Foods to buy up all they had, with Gorilla Girl and Monkey Man in tow.  Of course, while at Whole Foods, one must purchase any number of exquisite treats that are outside the range of normal eating. So, our before dinner treat was smoked gouda, and tofu with ginger, scallions, and soy sauce–thanks JY for turning us on to this wonderful treat!

The verdict from KDM and JM was that the smokiness of the Spanish chorizo made the mussels smokey, too.  They liked this.  A special treat was discovering a pieces of chorizo that had lodged in an open mussel. We liked this one a lot, and despite the cost of the mussels, at $5.00 a pound, the rest of the meal was simple, and relatively inexpensive. With a couple of bottles of Spanish wine, this dish really rocked for a leisurely dinner party.

With such a simple meal, I wanted to have a simple dessert.  Dorie’s poached pears got my attention, but I wanted something just a bit more fancy.  I poached the pears in a bottle of red wine with spices (anise, cinnamon, clove, orange peel, vanilla bean and sugar).  When the sauce was boiled down it created a spicy warm syrup to pour over the pears.  I had just a little homemade vanilla ice cream left, so we topped the pears with just a taste of the ice cream.  It was perfect.

The verdict on this recipe is a resounding let’s do it again. Thanks, Dorie.

To see other versions, check out French Fridays with Dorie.

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11 Responses to The best moules, ever (until next time)

  1. I’m excited to try this just as a bread dipping sauce because it was delicious as a pasta sauce! Great post!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Oh, they do sound amazing! I think I’d better put them on the menu — maybe for next Friday when (hopefully) we’re all feeling healthy again. Tell me about the tofu. Is it just cubes of raw tofu with a soy/ginger/scallion dipping sauce?

  3. Cher says:

    The tofu sounds almost as good as the meal! And I am sure the pears made a perfect ending to the meal.

  4. Alice says:

    Oh we are so making this again and soon in our house! 😉 Since I’m Japanese, tofu with soy and scallions are a staple at virtually every meal – just a nice little side that you can grab up a little cube and dip away at when you like. It’s super delicious!!

  5. Oh! The steam! That wine! I could make this again over and over!!! This just looks so wonderful!

  6. Peggy, your entire meal sounds wonderful. I loved how the sweet, salty, and smoky flavors melded into the sauce, especially for the leftovers. Lovely spread!

  7. Oh, that poached pear is beautiful! What a great end to the meal. Now you have me curious about tofu, soy and ginger – sounds like a winning combination!

  8. That first picture turned out great, love that you can actually see the steam rising off the mussels in the foreground. That pear looks delicious as well. It’s a recipe which I have often wanted to try, but somehow just haven’t gotten around to yet.

  9. Betsy says:

    What a gorgeous photo of the pot of steaming mussels! I enjoyed this one too. The first half I served with crusty bread and the leftovers (out of the shell) with pasta. I’ll have to check out the poached pear recipe, because that looks like something special. What a lovely meal.

  10. Teresa says:

    Love your photos and it sounds like you had a great meal.

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