Here’s one of the recipes from my opera-themed cocktail party for my sister. As I mentioned in that post, I recently got a molecular gastronomy kit. That’s right… I’ve found the grown-up, edible version of the chemistry kit I so loved as a child. For this recipe, I made a foam. Flavored foams, or air as they’re sometimes called, are fairly easy to make. The only “weird” ingredient is soy lecithin, which isn’t too hard to find.
I’d never had a foam before, and knew I wanted something with color for this recipe (since I think white or yellow-y foams tend to look like spit). The chive foam has a nice, light green color… imitating sea foam, which is what I was looking for. Eating the foam played tricks on the mind: there’s a delightfully fresh, clean chive flavor, but you haven’t chewed anything… so strange! It really is a wonderful way to add subtle flavor to a dish. It made me understand why these are so popular, even if they do look weird sometimes. It’s not just for show; it adds to the culinary experience!
Even if you’re not up to making the foam, these mussels are great without it. I started by steaming them in wine, spreading each with a garlicky butter mixture, letting the butter firm up in the fridge (making them great for the party since I could prep them ahead of time), and then broiling them. Easy and delicious!
Broiled Mussels with Chive Foam
—inspired by Smitten Kitchen—
- 2 teaspoons finely minced shallots
- 3 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- 2 lbs mussels
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, softened slightly
- ¼ cup minced parsley
- Juice of one small lemon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ⅔ cup water
- ⅔ cup milk
- ⅔ cup chopped chives
- 2 grams soy lecithin
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, sauté shallots and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil until just softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
- Clean mussels. In a medium saucepan, bring wine to a boil over medium heat. Add mussels and cover.
- Steam mussels over high heat until they open, about 3-5 minutes. Immediately use a slotted spoon to transfer mussels to a large broiler safe pan. Remove and discard the top shell of each mussel. Carefully use a sharp knife to cut the muscle holding the meat to the bottom shell (without removing the meat altogether). Arrange in rows in roasting pan.
- Add butter and parsley to the bowl of shallots and garlic and mash into a paste. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spread each mussel with a bit of butter mixture. Place mussels back in roasting pan as they were and refrigerate until butter solidifies.
- Preheat broiler. Broil mussels for about 2 minutes, or until butter is melted and bubbling. Serve right away with chive foam.
- Blend chives and water in a blender. Transfer to a square glass or hearty plastic container. Whisk in milk.
- Whisk in soy lecithin. Blend with an immersion blender until foam forms. Serve immediately.
Photo by Uthman Shabazz.