Foodiva's Kitchen: French Fridays With Dorie - Mussels With Mushroom and Peperoncino Pasta

Friday, February 17, 2012

French Fridays With Dorie - Mussels With Mushroom and Peperoncino Pasta

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!

45 comments:

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

What gorgeous presentation - so pretty! Sorry to hear you've been unwell, I was in hospital last weekend with a nasty bug too and I didn't even try this week's FFWD offering - thanks goodness for Mr Neil who cooked and ate it! Have a great weekend and hey, we'll still be here whether you post 3x week or not! Hugs xo

Adriana said...

Maya, I love your spicy take on the pasta. Those beech mushrooms look so cool.

I'm happy you are feeling so much better.

Cher Rockwell said...

Beautiful! I wish I could have found some on the half shell - prepping these was NOT my idea of fun...
I totally forgot that I had eschewed the bell peppers (not a fan) & added some red pepper flakes.
Hope you are well on your way back to full mojo. Have a great weekend!

Maureen said...

If my food presentation could look that good I'd never leave the kitchen.

So glad you're feeling better.

Ei said...

Pretty, pretty! I've never even seen frozen mussels. I thought that they had to be live. Good to know. Mine were really clean and beardless for some reason. I don't care what that reason is. I'm just grateful for it.

Elin said...

Drooling....I couldn't get any mussels from the frozen sections! So gave this deliciousness a skip but I will get some when there are stocks....after seeing yours , how could I resist anymore ! :) Well done and nice presentation...drooling!

Anonymous said...

HI! This is Alice over at "A Mama, Baby and Shar-pei in the Kitchen" .. I'm trying to see if I can leave you a message this way...
We have been in and out of our blog at random lately too! I hope you are feeling better and get back to your blog when you are feeling better! :)

Rose said...

Your presentation is always so beautiful and this week is no exception. Great job. Happy to hear that you were able to find some previously cleaned mussels. I used to be more squeamish around them but now I've lost the fear.

Aarthi said...

This looks awesome and yummy

Aarthi
http://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/

Foodiva said...

Hiya Mardi, thanks a lot, girl! I saw a photo of you on a drip on Instagram, and that's how I knew all was not well. You were that dedicated to the IG challenge and now you're dedicated to being a Dorista via wonderful Mr. Neil, of course! Now that's something to be most admired :).

Foodiva said...

Adriana, thanks for your kind thoughts. It was the first time I cooked with those beech mushrooms too, they were delicious!

Foodiva said...

Cher, I somehow recall that you and bell peppers are NOT friends, so I was wondering how you adapted.... well, now I know! Thanks for always cheering me up with your posts :).

Foodiva said...

Maureen, trust me, you would NOT want to sleep in the kitchen! LOL, many thanks, you're too kind.

Foodiva said...

Ei, I don't think I could have handled live mussels....oh no, definitely would've freaked out and given this week a miss. Plus I thought they were all frozen by the time they get here to the tropics, lol!

Foodiva said...

Elin, you get your mussels from the frozen section too? See...I knew they had to be all frozen to get here! It's so rare for us to see fresh mussels, we only have those little clams called kupang and they thankfully don't have beards. Can't wait to hear your verdict on this recipe when you try it!

Foodiva said...

Hi Alice, I haven't been blogging much anyway, so I appreciate that people still come by :). Was there a problem with my comment box that you couldn't type your name and link in?

Foodiva said...

Rose, I guess there is always that hurdle we have to get over and after that we're fine ;). Now if only they (ie. seafood) didn't smell so....fishy!

Foodiva said...

Thank you so much, Aarthi!

Elaine said...

Your mussels and sauce look so tantalizing delicious.

Foodiva said...

Thanks Elaine, I found everyone else's intact mussel shells tantalizing too :).

Sandra M. said...

Wow..I don't like mussels but your presentation and photos making my mouth water Maya! Lovely post!!!
Wishing you great day!!!

Kris' Kitchen said...

I like your method! I'll refer to your post when I catch up on this one...I caught up on creme brulee today as I knew I's never have time to do all the shopping and cleaning, etc. Your dish is beautiful and I love your mushrooms!

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Ah yes the food of Brussels! I think your attempt is very worthy. I am always iffy when it comes to mussels but I am sure yours I would love.

Guyla said...

I was a bit unsure myself about dealing with the mussels! Glad you found a way to make the recipe work for you and that no one suffered a shell fish mishap:)

Sis. Boom. said...

It looks like you made some very lovely substitutions there. I've never seen those half shell mussels but will look for them. And easy dish made even easier!

Lizzy said...

So good to have you back and feeling well! You've been missed! And, as always, your dish is breathtakingly beautiful!!

Daisy@Nevertoosweet said...

The photos and pasta looking amazing :) I've never cooked mussels at home and I agree that it can be so hard to clean ~ I think pippies are the worse with the sand!

Kathy said...

Maya, Always the prettiest presentation! These photos look like they were shot for a magazine! Beautiful!! Glad your feeling better...Have a great weekend!

Spicie Foodie said...

Hi Maya, Glad you are feeling better :) The Mussels look amazing! From the description of the challenge I think I like yours best. The chile is what got me, hehe. Now I want some Mussels.

Christy said...

Gorgeous food styling! Love how they look on the half-shell, and the tweaks you made to the recipe. The chorizo was a bit overpowering to the mussels. Glad you are feeling better!

Betsy said...

The mushrooms were a clever substitution for the meat. And your final dish looks delicious. Glad to hear you're feeling better.

Erin said...

That looks delicious! Love the idea of already cleaned and debearded mussels, I will have to look for those! Glad you are feeling better.

'Le ricette dell'Amore Vero' di Claudia Annie said...

sembra una vera delizia! complimenti :) un bacio!

Victoria said...

I'm glad you managed to find a way to avoid cleaning the mussels, haha. Whatever it takes to get a delicious meal made. This looks tasty! I love the colors.

Teresa said...

Your photos are beautiful, as usual, Maya. I don't think there is anything to be sorry about for using quick-frozen mussels - no clean up and all the taste. Your mushroom substitution looks like a great choice.

Hope you're feeling better.

Reem | Simply Reem said...

Love Love Love this....
Maya, I totally love ur spicy take on the pasta...
God the photography is gorgeous...

Mary said...

Maya, I'd say you have your MoJo back. What absolutely incredibly beautiful photographs. Your take on Dorie's recipe was fabulous. And, anyway you want to take your mussels, with or without "beards" is just fine with me. You certainly gave me some presentation ideas.

Frankly Entertaining said...

Absolutely gorgeous photos. You're inspiring to get more creative with my presentation! I'm pretty sure my mussels were previously frozen, but the shells were complete. They came from PEI to Texas; I'll have to doublle check at the seafood counter.

Robin said...

Beautiful photos. What great mushrooms, I've never seen anything like that.

Marie said...

I like the introductory Dave Barry quote. Coming from the midwest heartland, I had no childhood experience with seafood, and I still always have to take a deep breath when I'm faced with it. I was actually glad to see that other cooks have the same trepidation--it makes me feel like less of a wimp.

Trix said...

I don't think I have ever had flash frozen mussels - how do they compare to fresh? They certainly look pretty! I love your presentation (well, as always). I'm sorry you got sick, I hope you're feeling better - everyone seems a bit run down lately it seems.

Nana said...

Fantastic looking dish. Those mussels look so beautiful
and delicious. I substituted shrimp for the mussels, and it worked well.

Foodiva said...

Thanks for everyone's comments, I really like hearing feedback on everyone's fears and trepidation with regards to cooking mussels and seafood in general. It makes me feel like I'm well, normal... :)

Foodiva said...

Trix, how did they taste? Well, I think fresh mussels are better in terms of their texture, of course, but flavor-wise there wasn't much difference between these frozen and fresh ones. It's a small price to pay for getting over my squeamishness!

I feel a bit better this week, flu and cough still there but at least my mind is functioning somewhat now :). Thanks for your concern, sweetie!

Kristy and Adam said...

I love the courage you have shown by taking the challenge and creating a gorgeous looking (and I bet tasty) dish! Such a colourful happy dish! Adam and I are least confident at cooking any seafood - have always made the choice to enjoy eating out for that category! But, maybe we should give it a go this year :) You did a great job X
PS. Our blog is being featured on Foodista this Sunday 26th February! So excited :) We have our badge on our blog YAY

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