Above: Cafe De Spuyt.


Here in the Netherlands and maybe other countries, I don't know, they sell handy bags of de-shelled cooked mussels in the freezer, cheaply, less than 3 euros per pound. I never quite understood what these could be useful for until tonight. This was a José Andrés recipe (from the book I never cooked) but I went completely bachelorstyle on it and destroyed its technical integrity in the interest of speed and convenience. And it's something I'm now going to make all the time.


mussels in escabeche.

500gr cooked mussel flesh from the freezer (so, no shells)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 big garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 tsp orange zest
3 tbsp orange juice
1/2 tbsp pimentón
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

You could probably do something smarter and/or safer given these ingredients, but here's what I did: I opened a bag of still-frozen mussels, threw them in a covered pot with two big glugs of olive oil then let them cook/steam for 10 minutes or so. This was apparently enough to defrost them, hopefully in a way that doesn't result in my imminent death.

Then I separated them from the liquid in the pot and reduced the liquid for a few minutes, then I threw all the rest of the ingredients in (except the reserved mussels) and cooked for like 10 minutes, and poured that whole mess over the reserved mussels and put the whole thing in the fridge overnight, supposedly they are better made the night before serving. Serve via toothpicks or grilled/toasted bread, I imagine...this would also be a knockout summertime double bill with the famous salpicon.

UPDATE: I served these, and though they were all eaten, mostly by Noops, the general reaction was skepticism, possibly b/c everyone involved had read the above description of how carelessly I'd prepared them with regard to food safety.

But also I think that maybe serving them with a stack of buttery crackers might have been more inviting than the toothpick option. I also thought they were totally excellent on a piece of buttered crusty bread.


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