Mussels in wine and butter sauce


We were on our way to Niagara Falls on a beautiful day in Fall. A quarter of the way there, we felt hunger pangs. We ended up pulling up at a Red Lobster’s place.

Initially, I was extremely hesitant to dine out. The pandemic was still in full swing and it still is. At the time, I was terribly scared to remove my mask or share an enclosure with people whom I had not the pleasure of knowing their personal backgrounds, routine, and most of all, whether they’re vaccinated or not.

Anyway, I had to overcome my fear. We sat by a table with a window view and we flipped through the menus. Alas, I decided to try mussels in wine and butter sauce for appetizer (as if I needed to pique my already, extremely rich appetite) and a salmon dish for my main.

The very first time I sampled it, I was deliriously scraping meat one shell after another. It was what I had envisioned it would be: delectable!

I had a superbly pleasant experience at Red Lobster and I was so sure that it would be repeated. And it did on our way back from Buffalo. I had chicken alfredo for main dish this time. But for appetizer, it’s my new favorite of all time: mussels.

By the time we got home, I thought I could replicate the recipe. And I did.

I bought a bag of mussels from Whole Foods. Then at home, I chopped cloves of garlic, wedges of onion and tomatoes. First, I placed about two tablespoons of butter on the pan. Then I sauteed garlic, onion, and tomatoes in it. Then they were followed by a pack of washed mussels. After a few tossing here and there, I added several drops of pinot grigio. I liberally sprinkled Sichuan pepper, a pinch of salt, added finely chopped parsley at the very end. In 15 minutes the pot of mussels was ready.

Mimicking Julia Child, I told myself, “Bon appetit!” and I surely did.

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