We came across mussels from Long Island at the Palisades Farmers Market, and decided that’s what we’d have for dinner. Tarragon sounded like a good match, and so did a nice jag of oven fries for dunking.
If you’re doing fries, you’ll want to start those first. We cut Idaho potatoes on a mandoline and then baked at 400. We did not salt beforehand because we did not want the potatoes getting moister as they cooked. The salt would pull water out of them.
You should turn the potatoes about halfway through, and they should take about 20 minutes. Salt when they’re close to being done.
For the mussels, we sauteed garlic and spring onion from the garden, but you could certainly use shallot or even regular onion.
Then we added nice glug of Vermouth, but you could certainly use white wine. Lillet would be nice, too.
Add the mussels (which of course you cleaned before):
Cover and cook about 5 to 8 minutes.
Then remove the mussels, let the Vermouth-mussel broth reduce a little, then add about 1/2 cup cream and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped tarragon. Parsley would be nice, too.
Let that reduce a little, then pour the cream sauce over your bowl of mussels.
Mussels with Tarragon Cream Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
4 garlic cloves, diced
1/4 to 1/2 cup spring onion, shallot or onion, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Vermouth, white wine or Lillet blanc
2 to 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded, if necesary
1/2 to 3/4 cup cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
Melt butter in a pot large enough to hold the mussels over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and onion over bubbling butter until fragrant. Sprinkle with salt. Add Vermouth and bring to a boil.
Add mussels. Turn the heat to medium and cook, covered, until they open and are firm but not rubbery, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove mussels from the pot with a slotted spoon and place in your serving bowl. Discard any mussels that do not open.
Bring Vermouth-mussel broth to a boil. Reduce slightly, then add cream and tarragon. Bring just to a boil, then pour over the mussels and serve with small forks, spoons and bread (or oven fries) for dunking.