Ok, so I’m being only half truthful. Door County is a true wonder of nature. A place I could easily lay down my luggage and live happily ever after. But sadly, no home-grown mussels or clams to speak of.
Unless.. you’re Janice Thomas
Janice is the chef/owner of the Savory Spoon Cooking School, located in a renovated 1800’s school house in Ellison Bay. This past weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of participating in one of her classes. Janice guides her students effortlessly through the basics of cooking, while introducing them to the best of ingredients, both local and not-so-local. And when she teaches a class on mussels and clams, she imports the best. Flown in fresh from Taylor Shellfish Farms in Washington State. I leave with my stomach happy, my arms full of recipes, a DVD, a new cool kitchen gadget and some freshly made ginger biscotti.
You can find the Savory Spoon schedule online. Classes run through October and space is limited. Even if cooking classes are not on your list of things to do, a visit to Door County absolutely should be. Between the stunning landscape, endless shopping, wineries, cherries, fish boils, and hands down the friendliest folks around… it’s right up there with nirvana.
Oh yes, the recipe…I almost forgot!
We made this dish in class. Absolute heaven on earth. Thank you Janice and Door County. Now please pass the bread, because I need to have a moment alone with this sauce.
Steamed Mussels in Orange Pernod Sauce (via Savory Spoon)
- 2-3 dozen mussels, scrubbed and debearded (see DIS note>)
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup Pernod (anise flavored liqueur)
- 1 large ripe tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 1/2 cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Dinner is Served recommends: Sea salt, black pepper, & 1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
Place orange juice, 2 TBS Pernod, tomato, shallots, garlic and thyme in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the cleaned mussels and return to a boil. Cover pot tightly and steam mussels, stirring once, until open, 5-6 minutes. Discard any mussels that remain closed.
Transfer mussels to a large bowl using a slotted spoon; cover with foil. Boil the mussel steaming liquid until it reduced by half, then whisk in cold butter. Add remaining 2 TBS of Pernod. (Dinner is Served recommends seasoning broth to taste with sea salt and pepper). Pour broth over mussels, garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve immediately.
DIS Note> When I made this recipe at home, I used 1 1/2# of fresh mussels and kept the remaining quantities as written. I found that served 2-3 as a main course or would serve 4 as an appetizer.