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Mussels in white wine with saffron

(SHERYL JULIAN/GLOBE STAFF)
February 29, 2012
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Serves 4

Let the mussels soak in a bowl of cold water for an hour, then lift them out, transfer to a colander, and scrub the shells under a cold tap.

1/2  teaspoon saffron threads 

 Pinch of sugar 

1/3  cup boiling water 

2  tablespoons butter 

3  shallots, finely chopped 

1  clove garlic, finely chopped 

2  cups white wine 

 Salt and pepper, to taste 

4  pounds mussels, soaked and scrubbed 

1/4  cup chopped fresh parsley 

1  baguette, thickly sliced and toasted 

1. In a small bowl, use the back of a knife to crush the saffron threads with the sugar until they are pulverized. Add the boiling water and stir well.

2. In a soup pot, melt the butter and cook the shallots and garlic, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the saffron liquid, wine, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes.

3. Add the mussels, cover with the lid, and steam for 5 to 7 minutes, shaking the pan to redistribute the shells, or until they are all open. Use a large metal spoon to stir the shells near the end of cooking. Discard any mussels that have not opened.

4. Divide the mussels among 4 shallow bowls. Add plenty of cooking liquid to each one. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with toasted French bread. Sheryl Julian

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