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    MUSSELS WITH SAFFRON
    from "Seasoned in the South" by Bill Smith and Lee Smith

    Mussels and saffron are one of those almost eerie flavor combinations that really belong together. Everyone has his or her own like of these. Mine includes tomatoes and basil, of course, and sesame oil with soy sauce, but also things like chicken with leeks, cumin and red beans, and chocolate raspberries.

    Saffron is decidedly exotic. My grandmother was a good cook and a skilled gardener. Perhaps because of this she was fascinated by saffron — the stamen of a fall blooming crocus that is used as a seasoning. She had a vial of it on her spice rack that we were allowed to admire, but as far as I remember it was never used. This would have been in the early 1960s and none of us cold believe that such a tiny speck of it cost seven dollars.

    This recipe is an old favorite, very easy and quite elegant. I like to use lots of mussels — 3 cups per person at least.

    Serves 4 to 6
    INGREDIENTS (CLICK TO BUY)

    1 pound fettuccini
    6 large shallots, peeled and finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
    1 1/2 dry white wine
    3 cups heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon saffron
    3-4 pounds live, cleaned mussels in their shells, scrubbed and beard removed

    Print recipe
    PREPARATION

    Cook the fettuccini according to the instructions on the package. Put the shallots in a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the wine and reduce over high heat until almost dry (about 5 minutes). Try not to brown the shallots around the edge of the pan. Add the cream and the saffron.
    Reduce this sauce over medium heat (it will want to boil over) until it is bright yellow and a little bit viscous, about 10 minutes, depending on the cream. Bring to a hard boil, quickly add the mussels, and cover for a moment. Bring it back to a simmer and cook only until the mussels begin to just open. They will have emitted a lot of their own juice at this point, so quickly remove them to their serving dish and crank up the heat under the sauce to reduce it back down some. Add the cooked fettuccini and toss to coat. Pour the sauce (and pasta) over the mussels and serve at once. A plain green salad completes a splendid supper.


    Product nutrition and information
     Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
      De Cecco Fettuccine - $2.49/ea
     16oz
     
      Shallots - $1.99/pkg
     6oz, Farm Fresh, 6oz bag
     
      Astica Torrontés - $5.99/ea plus tax Save! Just $5.39 each when you buy 12 or more.
     750ml
     
      Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream - $2.99/ea
     1 pint
     
      Roland Pure Spanish Mancha Saffron
    This product is currently unavailable.
     

    lb
    Farm-Raised Prince Edward Island Mussels - $3.49/lb
     
     
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