This recipe sounds pretty fancy, and to be honest, it looks fancy. This picture doesn’t really do the presentation justice, as I was hungry and drinking wine, so I just didn’t have my usual 2-3 minutes of patience. I snapped two pictures and dug in, because I have no self control.
I served these on Saturday night when we hosted some friends for dinner. It’s been awhile since we’ve had a legit dinner gathering, so I was excited about coming up with a cohesive menu that was a crowd pleaser, but also didn’t have me stuck in the kitchen all night.
After much deliberation I decided to stick with a main course I knew and trusted, but experiment with something new to start. I found the basis for this mussels recipe on Food & Wine, and it mostly caught my attention because it included Gigante beans. But where in the world can you find Gigante beans in Dallas? Maybe Jimmy’s? I decided to save some time and just use canned cannellinis – don’t judge me. It was still fabulous, and I’d do it again.
And this was my final menu:
Mussels with Cannellini Beans & Garlic Confit to start
Snapper with Pine Nut Romesco
Fresh asparagus (blanched beforehand, then broiled for a minute in the oven)
Crusty French bread
Salted Caramel brownies a la mode (because I’m fancy like that)
And wine & rose champagne, obviously
Overall, dinner was a success. Anytime I broil anything my oven smokes like a chimney, so that’s always fun/entertaining for guests. But I was happy that I could make pretty much everything in advance – I just poached the snapper, and cooked the mussels at the last minute and we were good to go.
Mussels with Cannelini Beans & Garlic Confit
1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large shallots, minced
6 scallions, thinly sliced
1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed
1 28oz can of cannellini beans
2 tablespoons chopped dill
2 tablespoons minced chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Set a large, warmed bowl near the stove. In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the garlic, shallots and scallions and cook over moderately high heat until softened, 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, 2 minutes. Add the wine, lemon juice and oregano and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the mussels, cover and cook until they open, 3 minutes. Using a large slotted spoon, scoop out the mussels and add to the warmed bowl.
Mash 8 heads of the garlic confit plus 1 teaspoon of oil in a separate bowl and add to the pot.
Then add the beans, dill and chives to the pot and simmer, stirring, until the beans are hot. Season with salt and pepper. Off the heat, stir in the feta. Pour the beans into a deep platter and serve with the mussels.
3 large heads of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
3 large thyme sprigs
1 fresh bay leaf
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 300°. In a small enameled cast-iron casserole, cover the garlic cloves, thyme sprigs and bay leaf with the olive and canola oils. Transfer the casserole to the oven and braise for 50 minutes, until the garlic is very tender. Season with salt and pepper and let cool. Discard the herbs.
Transfer the garlic and its cooking oil to a clean, resealable jar and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.