I’m going to write this with as much love as I possibly can, from the kindest depths of my soul:
Erin – my better half – eats like a ten-year-old.
Erin can’t smell cilantro without gagging. Raw tomatoes make her queasy. Forget parsley. Onions disgust her (“it’s a texture thing”), and scallions are even worse. Celery?… Ha. She won’t even try mussels. The day that girl slurps an oyster is the day I willingly suggest we go dancing.
Most of the time when I cook at home I alter my recipes to be “Erin-friendly”. If leaving cilantro out of salsa isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
So when she stumbled across this recipe and knew that I wouldn’t be able to resist it, I couldn’t help but smile at the effort it took her to mutter the words “mussels with cilantro butter”. Erin knows, though, that sometimes I just need to crush a big bowl of something she finds utterly disgusting. And if that isn’t love reciprocated, I don’t know what is.
I made these for myself on Sunday. Destroyed an entire two pounds worth of mussels. Got completely shellfish wasted, watching football, feet up on the coffee table. Melted butter dripping down my chin, I’d never been happier in my entire life.
These are some damn good mussels. Make them for the grown-up eaters in your life (even if that’s just you).
Baked Mussels w/ Cilantro Butter
Makes a big ole bowl full.
Adapted from Anthology Magazine
- 2 pounds mussels
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- big handful cilantro leaves
- 2 big slices lemon
- big pinch of salt
- a few grinds of black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- In a food processor, combine all the ingredients, less the mussels and lemon slices. Pulse until the cilantro is ground fine and the butter comes together and forms a ball.
- Rinse and clean the mussels. If any of the mussels are open, give them a tap with your finger – if they do not close back up, discard.
- Arrange the the mussels and lemon slices on a large baking sheet. Dot them with spoonfuls of the cilantro butter.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the mussels have opened.
- To serve, first discard any unopened mussels, then pour the entire contents of the baking sheet into a bowl. Toss with a few fresh leaves of cilantro. Serve with crusty bread or baguette toasts, as shown.
(I took a little of the remaining cilantro butter, spread it onto slices of a baguette, and toasted the slices along with the mussels. Pretty awesome cilantro garlic bread, if I do say so myself.)
Is the better half a sports fan? Photography fan? Buy him or her this, right now: