Sometimes, you head down a path and realize that if you are going to take that journey, you have to be ready for what is at the end - kind of like choosing the inside-out/ upside-down/ stand up roller coaster vs. the kiddie coaster with its barely bumpy ride.
If you are going to do it, you just might as well DO IT.
This was one of those weeks.
When I saw mussels come up on the menu, I knew that I was in for a challenge on the home front. The only person that professes to like mussels is Moi. Me. Myself. And I. Of course, I immediately take this as a throwing down of the gauntlet. I am going to make him like them - or at least go down trying.
I determined ahead of time that if I could keep the element of surprise on my side, my chances of success would be far better. I also had a Plan B - just in case...
It went down like this.
Saturday night, The Dude asks "what's for dinner tomorrow". Me "I am still figuring it out".
Sunday morning: "What's for dinner?" Me: "I am still figuring it out."
The Dude runs off on errands for the afternoon. I run out and go shopping, get all the prep work done before he gets home and then get him settled in with a football game. Oh, the things we do.
As I mentioned above, I had a Plan B going just in case the mussels were a show stopper (chicken breasts rolled with pesto, prosciutto and Asiago). I also figured that the presence of the chicken would make the mussels less threatening (they were an "optional" part of the meal, not mandatory).
You know, I think one of the great take-aways from this whole French Fridays adventure is increasing my skills in kitchen diplomacy. Over the past three years, I have had to sell some pretty questionable dishes in the name of French Fridays with Dorie. Yep, I am at least a Junior Level Kitchen Diplomat. Since I will probably never be able to sell the idea of anything liver related to the peeps, I will have to content myself with the Junior Level ranking. A girl can dream though, can't she?
Lets talk mussels. First up, a whole bunch of aromatics (onion, shallots and garlic) spent some time getting loved by butter. Once they were all buttered up, they were joined by herbs (thyme and parsley), some lemon peel and a healthy dose of wine (I doubled up on the Sauvignon Blanc). Once that mixture was simmering, it was time to get those mussels into the pot (wild, Maine mussels and they were absolutely beautiful). After a brief sauna (although, quite a bit longer than the 6-7 minutes noted in the recipe), they were ready to go.
I wasn't sure how these drunken bi-valves were going to go over, but I was ready (chicken rolls, pumpkin-cornmeal bread and roasted sweet potato wedges).
The verdict? Score one for kitchen espionage and diplomacy. These were a hit!
Moral of the story: the kitchen is a battlefield and if you want to win the war, you better have a good strategy.
Peace out. XOXO
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie.