This is a great-tasting mussel dish. I make it often, either with the wild mussels that live on our rocks and ledges or with Dave Hiltz’s rope-grown mussels from his float in the harbor. It’s also a nice recipe to know about if you happen to have cooked mussels left over from a mussel feast.
Martha Greenlaw, Recipes From a Very Small Island
3 pounds mussels, scrubbed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Half a dried red chili pepper, crumbled, or 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound linguine
Combine the mussels and wine in a large pot. Cover, bring to a boil, and steam until the mussels open, 4-10 minutes, depending on size. Use a slotted spoon to remove the mussels to a bowl, discarding any that do not open. When cool enough to handle, shell the mussels and reserve the meat. (If you like, reserve some mussels in the shells for garnish.) Reserve the cooking liquid, letting any sediment settle to the bottom of the pot.
In a medium-large skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook over medium heat until the garlic is pale gold, about 2 minutes. Add the mussels, reserved cooking liquid (leaving any sediment behind), and 2 Tablespoons of the parsley. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving about a cup of the cooking water. Transfer to a large serving bowl, spoon half the sauce over, and toss. Spoon the remaining sauce over the pasta, adding a bit of the reserved cooking water if it seems dry. Garnish with the reserved mussels in shells if desired, sprinkle with the remaining Tablespoon of parsley, and serve.
Martha Greenlaw is a cookbook author, MF&L columnist, and Isle au Haut resident.