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Caesar Mussels

November 4, 2012

Not to be confused with a Mussel Caesar, a drink which I have invented at least in my mind thus far, and will someday put into practice. This was quickly thrown together a couple weeks ago with ingredients at hand. It was a hit with the wife, and so here it is. Of course you don’t have to go all-out and actually add booze to this, but it was fun to do so. We were in fact out of vodka, but so taken was I with the idea of adding alcohol that I threw in some whiskey instead.

Caesar Mussels

2-3 lbs mussels, rinsed and prepped (trim any beards, discard mussels that won’t close when you tap them on the counter or submerge them in tapwater)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
generous teaspoon dried chili flakes
1 stalk celery, cut into “fingers” (about 2″ long by 1/4″ wide)
3/4 cup tomato sauce (I used a sauce Teresa made, chunky with lots of vegetables)
3/4 cup Clamato juice (I like the extra spicy variety, but not the whole dressed)
(optional) 1-2 oz. vodka
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
seasoning salt, to taste

1. Prep the mussels. (Find some tips here)

2. Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, chili flakes and celery and cook for about two minutes. Add the tomato sauce and turn up the heat to medium-high. Once the sauce has warmed up, add the Clamato, the vodka and the mussels, cover and steam, stirring the mussels about frequently so they cook evenly, until they’re done. This takes about 5 to 8 minutes. Wait until all the mussels are open and the flesh inside has firmed up, so it pulls out of the shell easily, in one solid piece (but don’t actually pull them from their shells). Lift the cover and remove from heat.

3. Add the Worcestershire and the seasoning salt and stir. Serve with bread for dipping.

I think that’s how we did it. It’s really easy. The celery should come out a bit crunchy, but I’m still a little undecided as to what texture I want it to be.

Next time I’ll try the drink version of this, and let you know how that goes. Must buy some vodka first.

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