While lobster is what most people think of when they think about food from New England, here are a few scrumptious dishes that definitely deserve a place at the table. This month, we’re enjoying an unusual mussels dish cooked with fennel; a scrumptious three-bean salad that makes a great side dish and a traditional pumpkin pie that many of our grandmothers used to make. Let us know how they come out and enjoy!
Mussels cooked with Melted Fennel and Tomato – from Stephen Taber
When it comes to mussels, they can be cooked as simply as tossing them in with the steaming lobsters during their last few cooking minutes. This recipe can be a meal itself, or a snack before the lobster.
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
1 medium onion, julienned thinly
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3 tomatoes, medium to large, peeled, seeded and diced (can use canned, try a roasted variety)
2 T butter
½ cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
1 tsp smoked or sweet paprika, depending on your preference
dash of red pepper flakes
1 T parsley, chopped
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Rinse and scrub mussels well, removing their beards, then soak in salted water for 10 minutes. Discard mussels that remain open when tapped or are broken or are apparently empty. Rinse the remaining mussels one more time and keep cold until ready to cook.
Heat a cast iron or other large sauté pan over medium heat and melt butter. Add fennel and onion and reduce heat. Cook very slowly for about 25 minutes, making sure to cook no color to the vegetables. Add garlic and sweat for a few more minutes, then add tomatoes and simmer. Season with red pepper flakes, paprika, and a bit of salt, keeping in mind that the mussels will bring their own brininess. Cook until fennel, onion, and tomatoes are completely soft. Add vermouth and cook down until the flavor of the wine has mellowed into a gentle acidity.
Add mussels to the pan and distribute evenly. Have a bowl standing by, and remove each mussel as it opens with tongs. Once all of the mussels are cooked (if any never open, discard them) taste and make sure it has enough salt and seasoning. Return the mussels to the pan, then toss with parsley.
Serve with grilled crostini or baguette
Three Bean Salad – from Angelique – serves 10.
1 8-ounce can each:
yellow (wax) beans
red kidney beans
1 sweet onion, sliced and separated or chopped
1 red onion, sliced and separated or chopped
1 green pepper, cut into strips or chopped
If you prefer to use fresh green and wax beans, you need to blanch them first. Drop them in boiling water as briefly as possible, just until they turn bright green or yellow for the wax beans.
Marinate in the following dressing for 24 hours:
½ cup salad oil
¼ cup sugar
½ cup cider vinegar
dash of pepper
dash of salt
1 T Italian seasoning
1 Tsp. basil
1 Tsp. oregano
Pumpkin Pie – from Mary Day
2 T butter, melted
1 ¾ cups pumpkin (15 oz. can)
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp mace
¼ tsp cloves
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
½ tsp salt, scant
½ cup milk
½ cup cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 unbaked pie shell
Mix together the butter, pumpkin and spices. In another bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Stir in the sugars, salt, milk, cream and vanilla. Gently combine the two mixtures. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees until crust just starts to brown – 7-10 minutes or so – then reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue to bake about 1 hour more until knife comes out clean 2 inches from the edge.
For more information about recipes from the galleys of the Maine Windjammer Association click here.
Good cold for breakfast!