Drunken Mussels in White Wine Sauce
One of the very first cooking classes I ever took we cooked Mussels in White Wine Sauce and it was not very delicious. Whether this was due to my uncultivated palate, a poor recipe, or me and my classmates making a beginners mistake, like the time I dumped the whole bowl of salt into the pasta sauce, I was not “wowed” by the dish.
Since obviously the cooking school knew everything and no one could ever make mussels differently than we had, I filed mussels away in my mind as something that was an overpriced, nice thought.
A few years later I visited Chicago on a work trip helping to put on an event for the company my sister was working for. After the event was over, we had reservations at The Publican, which was the best food I have ever eaten, and then the Aviary, a speakeasy cocktail bar where cocktails were $30 a piece and you could order a smoked scotch that came served in a wooden treasure chest that billowed smoke when you opened it.
But despite how ridiculous and exciting the Aviary was, the Publican’s food is really what made a lasting impression. Everything brought to the table was mouthwateringly fantastic from the Mussels to the BBQ glazed carrots. That was the first time I had mussels that I just couldn’t get enough of and it really set the standard for me of what food could be.
Although I will never be able to recreate that experience, I can create a recipe for Mussels in White Wine sauce that I find to be delicious. Mussels can be intimidating if you’ve never worked with them but they’re surprisingly simple and speedy to prepare. They make a mean statement if you have dinner guests and like oysters they’re also known for their aphrodisiac qualities. Enjoy!