Mussels = Good; Egg Salad = Not so Good

  • Recipe(s): Mussels steamed with fennel and creme fraiche (page 254) & Return of the egg salad (page 35)
  • Prep: Easy & Moderate
  • Taste: Delicious & Boring

Another dinner party invite, another recipe checked off the list….

Last Saturday night we were invited to a reunion of sorts with a bunch of my old work mates. It was a potluck, so we decided to bring an appetizer. This was the perfect chance to complete another recipe from the book and in the process, get feedback from someone other than myself and partner.

We choose to make the steamed mussels recipe for the potluck. Mussels are typically not something that I would suggest taking as an appetizer to a potluck, as they could overcook on the drive over. Lucky for me, I know the hosts well enough, so I had no problem asking to use their stovetop to make the dish fresh for everyone! I did do most of the prep (chopping the onion, fennel, etc) at home but did all of the cooking at their place. Aside from the prep in two different locations, this recipe is very easy.

The mussels were a hit, to say the least. There was no problem finishing them off. They were cooked perfectly, nice and soft but not too squishy, which would turn most people off. The mussels were served in the shell, which really lent to the tastiness of the dish, as the sauce would catch in the shell and you had a bite of creamy heaven. The onion and fennel were a nice addition to the creme fraiche, they had some crispiness to them, which contrasted nicely with the softness of the mussels. The chili pepper added a nice heat to the backend of the flavour. The tang of the onion helped offset the richness of the creme fraiche, so it wasn’t too rich. We picked up a fresh loaf of ciabatta bread from Whole Foods, which we served on the side. That way everyone could have something to dip into the sauce, to enjoy as much of the deliciousness as possible.

This recipe ranks high on the effort to taste ratio and I would definitely make it again.

Keeping the recipe train rolling, I made the “Return of the egg salad,” recipe along with fresh mayonnaise tonight, thus completing two recipes in one. I am adding this to the same blog as I don’t have much to say about the egg salad. I have to say that both my partner and I thought this was an odd recipe. I mean it’s basically just a salad of hardboiled eggs. We’re not sure if it’s a British thing but a meal of just egg was a bit much. Anyway, the mayonnaise was very easy to make, as was the salad itself. The hardest part was peeling the eggs, especially the first one, which wasn’t done well enough. We cooked the eggs a bit longer but it ended up being a touch too long and the yolks hadn’t retained any liquid, as the photo depicts in the book. The mayonnaise lacked some punch and in the future I would add more lemon or salt. We both agreed that in the end we would have rather just made devilled eggs – it is much the same process and has better flavour. I definitely wouldn’t make the salad portion again but I would probably try making the mayonnaise again with the addition of some herbs to rev up the flavours.

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