The only kind of seafood I trust is the fish stick, a totally featureless fish that doesn't have eyeballs or fins.~ Dave Barry
I bit my nails when I saw that this week's French Fridays with Dorie featured mussels. Not that I have an aversion to it or any seafood in general, and in fact, I love to eat all sorts of creatures that come out of the sea! What I'm not a fan of is the cleaning and preparation side of things. So every time someone brings any seafood into this house (I've never bought or caught any of it), they'd better be all ready-to-cook or somebody else better be willing to get their hands dirty and smell of the stale sea for a while.
You can therefore bet that I went and searched for the cleanest, most prepped mussels and found these ones that have been quick-frozen on the half-shelf. I high-fived myself in my mind when I scored these. Firstly, they don't smell much and best of all...there were no more beards to clean up! Sure, aesthetically they didn't look as good as the two-shelled mussels but since we were not going to eat the shells anyway, I didn't let that small detail get to me.
I also wasn't keen on mixing my seafood with meat, so I omitted the chorizo and substituted it with some tender brown beech mushrooms. And the bell pepper was replaced with chilli peppers although I must make a disclaimer that I deseeded most of them (you know how awfully chicken I am at the prospect of too much heat in my food).
I served the mussels and mushroom up on a bed of Spaghetti al Peperoncino that was slightly spicy but manageably so. Eating this brought back fond memories of my frequent day-trips to Brussels, a mere two-hours' drive from where I used to live in Germany. Basically, I only went there for three reasons - to eat Belgian chocolates, waffles and their famous moules. Sightseeing? Forget it.
Before this week, I thought there was no way I could replicate those fine mussels from Brussels (sidenote: why does an image of Jean-Claude Van Damme come up every time someone says that?) in my very own kitchen. After cooking this, well I'm very sure I hadn't replicated them at all. But boy, it was a very good try. No bad shellfish-related incidents occurred on this occasion and everyone in the house lived to tell the tale! :)
On a final note, I've recovered somewhat from the nasty bug that got hold of me over last weekend and earlier this week. Thanks to all of you who dropped by and shared your comments and kind wishes. With your encouragement and friendship, I'm getting my blogging mojo back although it's proving to be a bit slow on the uptake... (remember, I used to post 3-4 times a week...oh, what happened to those days?). In the meantime, I shall come over to yours and check out some of your talented offerings.
Have a gorgeous weekend, Doristas and everyone else!