Mussels – Preparing the Bullion

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,856
    Chef Bryan Davis demonstrates how to cook mussels and how to prepare the bullion.

    Bryan Davis: Hi, my name is Bryan Davis with Chef Bryan's Kitchen and today we are going to be making Mussels with a Tarragon Vinaigrette. So what we are going to start off with now is we are going to build our court-bouillon or poaching liquid and what I am going to be using for the base of my poaching liquid or court-bouillon is going to be white wine. So we are going to go ahead and turn on our burner here. We are going to add about two cups of white wine. This is a Chardonnay, but you can use a Pino Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc. I would not necessary go out and buy a specific wine, if you got some lying around; that is probably what I would suggest. The other thing you want to keep in mind is you should never cook with a wine that you would not drink. So if you have a favorite, that is probably what you should use.

    So we are getting our wine, we are going to bring this up to a boil and then we are going to turn it down to a simmer. We do not actually want the liquid boiling, but we do want it to be hot enough to steam the mussels. So what we are going to do is we are going to build our poaching liquid. We are going to use a little bit of green onion. Again, this is just for flavor so there is real no measurement count for this. I am going to use about two tablespoons. So we are going to put the onions in there. We are going to put a little bit of our tarragon in there and we are just going to let that sit and steep in the wine for a couple of minutes just to help melt the flavors.

    One other thing you can do, I am not sure -- at my house, I save leftover vegetable trimmings and things of that sort. If you do that, you can always add some of those to the poaching liquid as well. I have got some leftover carrot, celery and onion. So I am going go ahead and add just a little bit of that. This is not necessary, you do not need this in order to make this dish, but if you have it lying around, it just definitely adds a little bit more flavor to the poaching liquid itself. The reason you want to add some as much flavor to this as possible and why we are using wine and not water is when this is done we are going to strain it through a fine sieve and then we are going to make our vinaigrette out of it.

    So we have got our court-bouillon almost up to temperature I like I said, we are going to bring it to a boil, turn it down, let it simmer for a couple of minutes to melt the flavors and then we are going to add our mussels. Let us talk just a minute about mussels. Fresh mussels, you can find -- they usually come in bags in the grocery stores, speciality food stores, you want to make sure that they are closed, completely closed, not open as this one is. If a mussel is open you want to discard it. If you take an open mussel and tap on it and it closes, that means the mussel is still alive and you can use it. If it does not close when you tap it, you throw it away. You do not want to use any open mussels for the dish. You want to make sure that they are alive and if they are alive when you tap them, they will close. So we are going to turn down and also what you want to do before you prepare the mussels is you want to rinse some off. There is really not much you can do inside to clear the sand out of them, but you want to make sure that all of the outside is cleaned and rinsed off so you do not get it end up with any sand in your dish. The other thing you want to do is as the mussels sit, they are going to release some moisture in the bottom. A lot of that moisture in the bottom is going to have some sand in it as well. So you really do not want to add that to the dish as well. So we are just going to take the mussels and we are just going to put them in our poaching liquid and then we are going to turn our heat up a little bit and then we are going to steam them. What we are going to do -- shellfish are great in the sense that they let you know when they are done. When the shells open up completely and are fully open the mussels or clams are done. So we are just going to put our lid back on it and we are going to let them steam for about 46 minutes. Any mussels that are not open after 46 minutes, we are going to discard as well. So while the mussels steam we are going to go ahead and put our vinaigrette together, so when we come back we will start putting the Tarragon Vinaigrette together for our mussels.