After dining out with one of our favorite friends (and a fellow foodie) the other night and enduring several courses of mediocre if not downright nasty seafood—I literally spit a mussel back into the bowl, could not even choke down the “fishy” salmon (which is not a good thing!) and the third bite I had of the sea bass was wretched—it made us crave mussels.
Funny how that sometimes happens, isn’t it?
You eat something absolutely horrible and it makes you want to eat it when it’s prepared properly using the freshest ingredients.
So off David went Friday morning to purvey from our former “secret seafood monger” which has now opened a retail side so you, too, can enjoy the best seafood selection in town.
Groomer Seafood is located at 9801 N. McCullough, just off 281 and Isom Road. You can reach the Groomer guys at 210-377-0951. Rick, Frank and Danny will not steer you in a “fishy” direction. And while David can no longer go in the back and hand pick his fish, it’s still much better quality than anything you’ll find anywhere else in town. I promise!
But I digress…
On a mussel mission, David came home with those and got a little mahi-mahi, too, which we simply sauteed and served in strips with the mussels. A perfect protein-laden meal.
You could serve mussels as an appetizer or add in a few other choice seafood selections—perhaps some clams, shrimp, scallops, squid and/or chunks of fish and make a zuppa di pesce.
Include a glass of wine, a salad and some crusty bread and you’ve got yourself an amazingly simple yet delicious meal that’s perfect for these warmer nights.
The restaurants make this dish look so difficult, but it's super easy and cheap to make it at home. All you need are fresh mussels and quality canned tomatoes. Serve with salad and garlic bread and you'll swear Nonna made this.
- 2 lbs. uber-fresh mussels cleaned and beards removed
- 1/2 onion sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced minced or left whole
- 1/2 28-punce can peeled tomatoes and its juice preferably San Marzano
- 1/4 cup water if the canned tomatoes aren't very juicy, you'll need to add a little water
- 1/2 cup white wine and something you can later enjoy with dinner we buy a vino verde
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano chopped, fresh or dried
- Red pepper flakes optional
- 1/4 lemon squeezed into the pot before serving
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley chopped
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, pour a few glugs of extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the sliced onions, a little sprinkle of kosher or sea salt and stir to coat. Cook 2-3 minutes until the onions are softened, add 1/2 can of the tomatoes and its juice, crushing each tomato with your fingers as you add it to the pot. Add the garlic and stir to combine. If needed, add 1/4 cup of water and let everything cook down a bit, about 5 minutes.
Then add the herbs, red pepper flakes and wine and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the mussels, 1/4 lemon squeezed into the pot, cover and cook until they open.
This should take about 7-8 minutes.
Throw in some chopped parsley at the end, stir and serve.