Yup...I used that joke about 85 times on Saturday. And yes, I thought I was hilarious.
This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to join in on a longstanding tradition that includes some of my very favorite things: wine, gourmet cheese, seafood, the beach, and friends. Aside from the 50 mph winds, it couldn't have been a more perfect day.
Devon and I were invited to "Mussel Madness 7" by our co-worker, David Koppett. As you might have guessed by the name, this is the 7th year for this amazing event. It started out small the first year...maybe 7-10 people and has grown to over close to 200 people, ranging in ages from babies to 80 years old.
Before we get to the mussels, I've got to tell you about the cheese. I'll be honest...I may have been more excited about the cheese than I was the mussels.
Stephen Morvay creates the most impressive cheese table I've ever seen in my life. Just look closely at that photo and just *how* far that cheese extends down to the beach. Absolutely ridiculous.
I can't even begin to list off all of the different varieties of cheese...just know that it was the best cheese experience of my life.
I imagine this to be what heaven looks like.
As for the mussel "hunting"...all you need is a one day fishing permit, some heavy-duty gloves, a bucket and a cool hat. (OK, hat is optional, but it was fun for photo-taking). All you do is pry the mussels off the rocks at low tide and toss them in the bucket. (I actually took some home and cooked them last night...they were delicious!)
The chefs on hand (including Stephen), cook them up right there on the beach. It really doesn't get fresher than that! We started off sampling a more traditional preparation, followed by a Thai-style recipe, and finally an Argentinean one with chimichurri sauce (sadly, we left before trying that one).
Thai Steamed Mussels
Keywords: steam appetizer entree gluten-free mussels lemongrass galangal Thai
- 5 pounds mussels, washed & beards removed
- 3 T chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 red chili peppers, seeded, veins removed, small dice (or sub a combo of jalapeno and bell pepper)
- 1 (1-inch) piece Galangal, sliced into thin coins
- 1 can coconut milk, unsweetened
- 1/2 bunch cilantro, rough chopped
- 1/4 bunch basil, rough chopped
- 2 limes, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced into thin half-dollar pieces.
- 2 stalks lemon grass, crushed with a tenderizing mallet or sharpening steel
- 2 cups water
- In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the garlic, jalapenos, red pepper and galangal until just before the garlic starts to get some color and the your eyes start to water.
- Add the mussels and the remaining ingredients and turn up the heat to high. Cover and relax for a while...maybe drink a beer and look out the window.
- In about 5 or 10 minutes you should start seeing steam coming out of the pot and your kitchen will smell nice. Take a peak inside. (Don't burn your face with he steam). When you see all of the mussels open up, steam for another 2 minutes.
- Place a colander over another pot and drain the mussels. Spoon the mussels into serving bowls and ladle the reserved broth over the mussels. Serve with crusty bread.
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