Mussels and Bok Choy with Black Bean Sauce

510 - MUSSELS AN DBOK CHOY WITH GREEN TEA PILAF 2 (LITE)Mussels, like clams, are a two-fer.  They’re delicious in themselves and they generate their own sauce.  If all you did was throw them into a pot with a little olive oil, garlic, and white wine, put the lid on top, and steam them until they opened, you’d still end up with mussels in a deeply flavorful broth.  Nothing more would be required of you than to mop it up with slices of toasted country bread and be happy.

But these mussels are gussied up.  Taking the Asian route, I’ve added ginger, chiles, soy sauce, rice wine, and fermented black beans to the broth.  Fermented black beans are black soy beans that have been salted and cured; they bring an intensely savory taste to any dish, especially vegetables, including sautéed broccoli, broccoli rabe, greens, carrots, even butternut squash.  They need to be rinsed first to lose their excess salt, then mashed.  They’ll keep in the fridge for a long time.

Cultivated mussels are widely available and very sustainable. I prefer them to their wild brothers because they’re more uniform in size, less gamey, and easier to clean.  But wait until the last minute to clean them.  First scrub the shells, then pull off the “beard”– a hairy string on the side of the shell, using a kitchen towel if necessary to get a grip on it– if there is one.

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Hands on time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
6 scallions, sliced thin crosswise and white and green parts kept separate
2 tablespoons fermented black beans rinsed well and mashed lightly with a fork
3 to 5 dried whole small chiles, or to taste, optional
1 red bell pepper cut into thin 2-inch long strips
3 pounds mussels (preferably cultivated), scrubbed well and beards removed
1 cup chicken stock, vegetable stock or low-sodium store bought chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 pound baby bok choy, halved lengthwise and sliced thin crosswise
cooked white or brown rice as an accompaniment

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, scallion whites, black beans and chiles, if you are using them, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the red bell pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the mussels and ½ cup of the chicken stock, cover the pan tightly and steam the mussels, transferring them as they open to a bowl, until all of the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Whisk together the remaining stock, the rice wine, the cornstarch and the soy sauce and add the mixture to the saucepan in a steam, whisking. Bring to a boil and add the bok choy. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute and return the mussels, along with any juices from the bowl to the pan. Cook, stirring to coat the mussels with the sauce, until the mussels are hot.

Serve the mussels and broth over rice and garnish each portion with some of the scallion greens.

Darjeeling Tea Pilaf   

Start to finish: 40 minutes
Hands on time: 15
Servings: 4

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup Calrose rice*
1 3/4 cup strong brewed darjeeling tea
*Calrose rice, a medium grain rice grown in California, can be found in many supermarkets as well as online.

In a small saucepan heat the oil over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the tea, bring the tea to a boil, reduce the heat to a bare simmer and cover the pan with a damp paper towel and a lid. Cook the rice for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the liquid is totally absorbed and the grains have swelled. Let stand, covered, off heat for 5 – 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve right away.

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Thanks to

Food Provided by: Citarella Markets | Kitchen Equipment provided by: VIKING RANGE LLC | Boos Block Cutting Boards | Casabella | Chantal | Dream Farm | Le Creuset | OXO | Silpat | SwissMar |

2 Responses to Mussels and Bok Choy with Black Bean Sauce

  1. lynn leeds says:

    Thanks for your show . . . I always learn something. I own one of your cookbooks and it’s on my “treasured books” shelf.
    Thank you also for providing recipes on line. I do have a suggestion to have whoever designs your website: Putting gray print on off white background makes the print VERY HARD TO READ. Black print on white background is best. Using colors is also problematic when the background and print gray into one another because of lost contrast. Designers love to mix colors and contrasts, resulting in eye strain for the not-so-young readers.

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