This is my little twist on the classic mussels steamed in white wine. I use leeks and garlic as the base alliums, and add a bit of tomato paste and a healthy does of chile flakes to the broth. Good crusty bread is absolutely non-negotiable here--you'll want to soak up as much of the tangy, salty broth as possible. —ieatthepeach
2 as a main course, or 4 as an appetizer
olive oil, unsalted butter, or a combination
small leek, white and light green parts only, diced
garlic cloves, minced
crushed red chile flakes, or to taste
Inspect the mussels, and discard any with cracked or broken shells. If any mussels are slightly open, give them a gentle tap; if they don’t close within a few seconds, throw them out. Rinse the mussels under cold running water, and scrub with a damp cloth or a stiff brush to remove any lingering grit or dirt. If any of the mussels have their beards still attached, pull them out–you may need to use a kitchen towel to help you grip.
In a large pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat olive oil and/or butter over medium heat. Add leek, garlic, tomato paste, chile flakes, and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, or until the leeks are translucent. Add wine and lemon zest, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil.
Add the mussels to the pot, and immediately cover with a lid. Give the pan a gentle shake, then let the mussels steam for 3-5 minutes, or until they’ve all opened. If any mussels don’t open after about 8 minutes, remove them from the pot and throw them away.
Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the parsley. Ladle the mussels into large bowls, along with their broth. Serve with crusty bread to sop up the broth.