If you want to impress your lover and you like mussels in white wine, garlic and butter, I am passing along this recipe via the Village Voice from restaurant SPINA in NYC’s East Village. It’s for Mussels, Neapolitan style. Or you could call it by its sexier Italian name: A ‘Mpepata e Cozze.
Do not be intimidated by the idea of making chive oil; it’s just three ingredients in a blender. The rest of the prep is fairly basic – garlic, oil, wine, butter in a pan with the best mussels you can get. Just beware: it’s made with A LOT of black pepper.
For the chive oil:
1 bunch fresh chives
2-3 tablespoons water
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a blender, combine the ingredients. Start with just enough water and olive oil to get the blender to chop the chives. Once it’s blended, drizzle the olive oil from the top of blender for no more than 15-20 seconds to get a slightly thickened emulsion. Pour the mixture into a strainer over a bowl to separate chive pieces. Press the pieces down with spatula to extract all the liquid. Discard the solids and set aside.
For the mussels:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3/4 pounds Bouchon Neapolitan mussels (these are bigger and meatier but may be harder to find; Prince Edward Island can be substituted), cleaned
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
4 tablespoons chive oil
2 lemons, juiced
handful of parsley, chopped
extra virgin olive oil to finish (use the best olive oil you have)
In a 10-inch pan over high heat, add the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until browned, about 1-2 minutes. Add the mussels and cook for 1 minute in the oil. Add wine, butter, black pepper and salt. Cover and for 2 to 3 minutes until mussels open.
Add the juice of two lemons and 4 tablespoons of chive oil to the mussels and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more. Plate in a bowl and garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Drizzle with your best olive oil, and serve.