Mussels on the menu, along with pasta

DINNER TONIGHT

August 03, 2005|By Mark Graham | Mark Graham,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Because I'm not a big fan of mussels, the shellfish rarely show up on my menu at home. But this garlicky dish is an exception. It's delicious and quick.

It is always best to consume mussels the same day you purchase them. Small black mussels work best for this recipe, and you can substitute small clams if mussels are not your thing.

Purge them quickly by immersing in cold water to expel any sand. Then, quickly scrub each mussel clean with a brush and cut off any beard (hairlike filaments attached to the shell).

Beverage pairing

A soft yet sassy Italian pinot grigio - or try a Californian - complements the bright flavors of this dish.

Tips

The mussels dry-roast in a hot skillet and will cook rather quickly. Don't be alarmed if you end up with cooked mussels and very little cooking liquid; this is exactly what you want.

Mussels should open during cooking. Discard any mussels that haven't opened after 8 minutes.

Menu

Green salad with Italian dressing

Pan-roasted mussels over garlic linguine

Crusty Italian bread

Neapolitan ice cream

Pan-Roasted Mussels Over Garlic Linguine

Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooking time: 16 minutes

Makes 6 servings

2 pounds mussels, scrubbed, beards removed

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon each: onion powder, hot paprika, salt (divided use of salt)

freshly ground pepper

1 pound linguine

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Heat salted water to a boil in a stockpot. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Toss mussels, chili powder, onion powder, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.

Transfer mussels to skillet; cook, covered, shaking pan occasionally, until mussels are open, about 8 minutes. Discard mussels that haven't opened.

Meanwhile, cook linguine in boiling water until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to stockpot; toss with the garlic, olive oil, red-pepper flakes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste and reserved cooking liquid.

Transfer to serving platter, pour mussels and any of their cooking liquid on top, garnish with cheese. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 546 calories; 17 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 60 milligrams cholesterol; 62 grams carbohydrate; 35 grams protein; 876 milligrams sodium; 3 grams fiber

- Recipe and analysis from the Chicago Tribune, a Tribune Publishing newspaper

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