Steamed Mussels, Low-fat & no alcohol
- jen maiser Jul 15, 2005 01:51 PM
Any thoughts as to how I would prep a very low fat version of steamed mussels without alcohol?
I am used to just prepping with a bottle of wine, so that's not gonna work.
I am thinking something with tomatoes, maybe?
Any help would be appreciated.
Jim Beard went to his grave believing that...but it ain't true. Turns out it takes a REALLY long boil to get the alcohol out, a lot longer and hotter than a cook would want to do it. Even flambee-ing doesn't burn off more than a portion of the alcohol in the brandy.
Too bad - another comforting assumption gone down the tubes.
Just use water and squeeze in some fresh lemon juice. You might even want to toss the squoze-out lemon halves in there for the aroma. I find this works better than wine, anyway - the random aromatics of cheap wine can muddy up the other flavors too much, and I refuse to dump a bottle of the good stuff in there just to steam some mussels (same goes for poaching fish).
I also like to throw in a stalk or two of fennel - doesn't have to be the sweet "edible" kind, either. Of course all of this stuff gets discarded before the dish comes to the table...
Should be no problem with fish or vegetable stock (skim fat off if you're making it, or check fat content if buying). Another vote for leeks or any aromatic vegetables. Saffron and garlic are great too. Tomatoes or not, your choice.
You can steam mussels in just their own juices. Get your wok very hot, add mussels, close lid. The only problem with this method is that sometimes a few of the mussel shells shatter from the heat.
We make Thai-style mussel dish with lemongrass, basil, kaffir lime leaf, garlic, and ginger. I steam with water with a little fish sauce added.
I would use a splash of chicken stock and some chopped canned tomatoes, not drained completely, with shallots/onions, garlic, and the herbs of choice.
I have also made thai-ish mussels with chicken stock, lime zest, lemongrass, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, and chopped scallions.
I use 1/2 tsp penzey's chicken soup base per 1/4 c. water-- it's pretty low fat in this amount.
Slightly OT, but in line w/your new cooking needs, Dean Ornish's steam-sauteeing method is a low fat cooking technique for browning vegetables, which is basically--put a few tablespoons of water in a pan with the aromatics you'd usually saute for a flavor base, let them start to get tender, and burn off the water and finish browning the veggies before adding the rest of your ingredients. Many sautes can be modified this way to eliminate the need for butter and oil at the outset (at a small loss of richness in the flavor profile.).
Also-- the Mayo Clinic cookbook is low fat and I think no alcohol, and there are many good recipes in there, including a prune and pork couscous dish and a curried soba noodle with cucumber salad recipe which are delicious. Good luck.
If you like curry flavors, try either an Indian style or a Thai green style curry using LITE coconut milk, which is much lower in fat (Taste of Thai makes one available in all the supermarkets here).
Don't let's reject "just plain" because we're foodies.
Steam them. Yes, with water. Let the mussels be mussels - and expand from there: perhaps a selection of little plates (like sushi soy sauce saucers) with flavorings: plain salt, Sriracha hot sauce, chopped fresh parsley, soy sauce, etc.
Saute some shallots and garlic first. In place of wine, I would use Kitchen Basics seafood stock that's sold at Trader Joe's. Use one part stock to two parts water to dilute. Add some diced tomatoes that you crush a bit w/ your hands before tossing in. Add some of the tomato liquid, if you like. Season w/ lemon juice, S&P, and chives. Add the slightest touch of half and half to finish.
I know that bacon is probably a no-no right now, but I once had a mussels version w/ applewood smoked bacon, roasted tomatoes, and chives that I will never forget.
From reading your blog, sounds like this will be a significant lifestyle change for you both, but I admire how you're approaching it. You sound very supportive, and I wish you both the best.