Cooking 101

Mussels dish captures the flavors of the Pacific Northwest

Mussels in Tomato Broth With Oyster Mushroom Bread Pudding and Rouille
Mussels in Tomato Broth With Oyster Mushroom Bread Pudding and Rouille Johnson County Community College

Inspired by the Pacific Northwest, a region known for its seafood and healthy, fresh foods, chef Eleanore Crevier conceived a recipe for blue mussels with tomato broth, oyster mushroom pudding and rouille that captures the area’s authentic flavors.

“I wanted to create a dish that reflected the prime location for seafood that is the Pacific Northwest and balance that with the earthiness that you can find in the cuisine there, while keeping it light,” Crevier says

Crevier chose a spiced tomato broth as opposed to a heavy cream sauce. The broth pairs well with the aromatic qualities of the mussels. The oyster mushroom bread pudding instead of the classic toast adds a twist.

“It serves to absorb the broth as a toast would do without feeling like a soggy bread,” Crevier says.

Her recipe has very simple flavors, but it is technique-driven, particularly when preparing the rouille. She says the classic French sauce, which is served with fish stews, is dependent on correctly emulsifying the oil into the egg.

“You are essentially making flavored mayonnaise. You can’t be heavy-handed,” she says. “Slowly drizzle the oil while everything is blending to ensure that initial emulsification before you can pour more in at a time.”

With mussels increasingly available at supermarket fish counters, you can bring these flavors of the Pacific Northwest home to your table.

About the chef

Eleanore Crevier is a fifth-semester student in the Johnson County Community College Chef Apprentice and Hospitality Management Program. She currently works in the pastry shop for the Sheraton at the Overland Park Convention Center. She previously worked as the pantry, fry and saute cook at Hallbrook Country Club in Leawood.

Mussels in Tomato Broth With Oyster Mushroom Bread Pudding and Rouille

Makes 4 servings

For the rouille:

1 large red pepper

2 tablespoons minced shallot

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 tablespoons chicken stock

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon garlic paste

1/2 teaspoon champagne vinegar

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup olive oil

For the bread pudding:

Butter, for greasing the dish

1/2 cup diced bacon

2 cups sliced oyster mushrooms

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch pepper

1 tablespoon red wine

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme

2 teaspoons minced fresh sage

1/4 cup chopped spinach

1 egg

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup chicken stock

2 cups Italian bread, cut in 1/2-inch cubes

For the mussels:

1 large tomato, roasted, peeled and seeded

1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon butter

2 cups white wine

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 pounds live mussels

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried thyme

4 leaves fresh basil, for garnish

To make the rouille: Stem, core and seed red pepper. Roast in a 425-degree oven until charred. Cover pepper with a clean kitchen towel and allow to steam 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the skin using a paring knife and chop pepper.

In an uncovered small saucepan on medium-high heat, reduce the roasted red pepper, 2 tablespoons shallots, 2 tablespoons white wine and stock to half the amount, about 15 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool.

In a food processor, pulse the egg yolk, garlic paste and vinegar until well combined. With the motor running, very slowly drizzle in both oils until an emulsification forms. Season with salt. Set aside.

To make the bread pudding: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter four 3.5-ounce muffin cups.

In a medium sauté pan, cook the bacon to the halfway point. On medium-high heat add the oyster mushrooms, shallot, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until lightly browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. No liquid should remain in the pan. Lower the temperature and add the wine, lemon juice, thyme and sage; the wine and lemon juice should cook no more than a minute, just long enough to coat the mushroom mixture. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted from the heat.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, cream and stock to make a custard. Toss the bread cubes with the mushrooms and gently press mixture into the muffin cups. Pour the custard over the bread and mushroom three-quarters of the way full and bake for 15 minutes, or until the custard is set; allow to cool before removing the bread puddings from the muffin cups.

To cook the mussels in broth: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Using a paring knife, cut an “X” in the bottom of the tomato and roast for 30 minutes.

In a medium sauté pan on medium heat, cook the yellow onion and garlic with butter until the onion turns translucent but do not brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine, chicken stock, saffron, bay leaf and red pepper flakes and reduce broth by half over high heat, about 8 minutes.

Rinse the mussels and peel off any outside fuzz on the mussel known as the beard (it’s what they use to adhere to other objects) and gently squeeze shut any mussels that are open. If they do not slowly close tight after you have let go, they are dead, and you must throw them out!

Remove the skin from the tomato by peeling it off from the “X” and strain out the seeds. Finely dice the tomato, retaining as much of the juice as possible, and add to the sauté pan. Finally, add the mussels and cook uncovered until all the mussels have opened up, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lemon juice, butter, oregano and thyme and toss gently until the butter is melted. Serve immediately.

To serve: Ladle mussels and broth in a serving bowl and garnish with fresh basil. Serve with bread pudding and rouille.

Per serving: 1,367 calories (77 percent from fat), 112 grams total fat (25 grams saturated), 234 milligrams cholesterol, 33 grams carbohydrates, 36 grams protein, 2,796 milligrams sodium, 3 grams dietary fiber.