Today is my best friend Angelia’s birthday!!!! I have a lot of amazing supportive women in my life for whom I’m incredibly grateful, but Ang is the one who knows where all the bodies are buried (metaphorically of course). I have absolutely no problem calling her at 3am: whether its because I think I’m in love with a new boy, I’m worried about a family problem or I just need to contemplate where my life is going — I know she’ll wake up to talk. I hope every single person reading this has an Ang in their life.
Last week we lost an amazing friend in a very tragic way. I met him through Ang, and I know that his passing is particularly hard for her after their 26 years of friendship. I hope that this three part birthday ode to our friendship through food brightens her day a bit and I hope you decide to make one of these dishes, with all the love in your heart, for the BFF in your life.
Ang and I met when we went to UNC-Chapel Hill together (go Tar Heels!) Before school started, we were both on campus to take a language placement test. Apparently we had an equal aptitude for French because 10 minutes into the exam we turned in our papers and walked out at the same time. Rather than walking awkwardly back to the quad together in silence, we decided to said “Hi”
On my part, I said it with quite a bit of reservation because 1) Ang has the strongest “side-eye” of anyone I know; 2) She was wearing pearls, ballet flats and a perfect bun; 3) i was in flip-flops and torn jeans. Despite our differences, that “Hi” was the moment we became friends for life. In the spirit of our meeting in a French exam…I give you a classic French dish—Moules Marinières (Mussels in White Wine Sauce).
Mussels are one of those absolutely delicious dishes that people are happy to pay $20 for at a restaurant because they don’t realize how easy they are to make at home. Trust me.. even the most novice cook can do this.
- 2 pounds of mussels
- 4 table spoons of butter
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 1½ cup of good white wine
- 2 tablespoons cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Wash the mussels thoroughly under cold water but do not scrub them. Discard any mussels that have opened and will not shut after being pinched lightly or tapped against the sink. Remove the beard from any mussels. (The beard is any tough fibrous strands protruding from the shell)
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, saute the shallots in the butter over medium heat for 3 minutes until they are soft but have not started to brown.
- Turn the heat to medium-high, add the wine and cook for for 3 minutes to allow the alcohol taste too cook out.
- Add the mussels and cover the pot. Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes, until most of the mussels have opened.
- Stir in the cream and chopped parsley and serve the mussels, along with the liquid they were cooked in, with some crusty bread.