It was a beautiful day with a mid-afternoon low tide, and we collected a big bag of mussels at the Cape Cod Canal. This is what I did with them, and I thought they came out better than any mussels I’d ever made.
Mussels with Garlic and Pernod
(serves four as an appetizer, or two as a light main dish)
4-5 dozen mussels, cleaned and de-bearded
1 T. butter
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
3 T. Pernod or other anise liqueur (I use the cheap stuff)
¼ c. chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup heavy cream
black pepper to taste
In a pot large enough to hold the mussels, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until it softens and begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
Using a steamer insert, put the mussels in the pot and cover it. Cook until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. (Discard any mussels that don’t open.)
Remove the mussels to a bowl, and cover it so the mussels stay warm. Add the Pernod to the pot, and cook the liquid down until it reduces by about half. Add the cream and cilantro, and cook another minute or two. Serve the mussels in the liquid. A crusty bread is required.