Mussels

Today, I landed in Orlando. The weather was sublime… and after taking an overly long drive to enjoy the weather (in other words: missing all of the beautiful weather because we thought the drive would be shorter) I went to dinner at Timpano. They have several different restaurants in other cities, but this is the first one I have been to. The service was great, the ambiance was just cozy enough, and mussels? Phenomenal.

I don’t normally like mussels or any type of sea food that involves using my fingers (like crab legs and lobster… seriously I just can’t ever get that SMELL out of my fingers and it drives me wild), but everyone around us was feasting on these sizzling pans of mussels. Needless to say, I immediately ordered my own piping hot pan. It was wonderful.

The mussels are drizzled in oil, and tossed with a heavy handful of coarse salt. Then they are thrown on a searing hot cast iron pan and brought to your table as they mussels just cook and sprayed with fresh lemon. The mussels are just the right amount of gooey cooked to melt in your mouth and the flavors of charred shell and crispy salt on the shells is just perfect.

Anyway, after swallowing a good dozen of these delicious mussels, I contemplated the application at home. I think with a solid lodge logic (or other cast iron pan) the same result is possible if you can find mussels that are fresh enough to be eaten just toeing the “cooked” line. The key is a lot of salt, a little moisture (maybe a little white wine infused with garlic olive oil will do the trick) and then high… high heat. I think if I were to do this at home, I would broil my pan on high with just a bit of oil until it smokes before tossing the mussels in. Then back into the oven for 5 minutes before slurping them up with some crusty bread. This is clearly my first project once I get back into my kitchen… and buy one of those cast iron pans I’ve been eyeing!

A fun little note! I am the proud new user of the NEW and very sexy Sony Alpha Nex-5 Camera. As an avid user of my little Sony point-and-shoot that I have had for 5 years (forever and ever!), and a notable disinterested soul of electronics, this might be the first trendy electronic gadget that I am utterly infatuated with… really, it’s out of control.  Can I also mention that it comes in RED?! So cute! (Mine is silver, but I still found myself hugging it to my chest during my flight here).

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