Saturday, December 24, 2011

Asian Fried Mussel Variations

Ingredients for Fried Mussels:
green lipped mussels
1/4C flour
1 fat clove micro plane grated garlic
1t micro plane grated fresh ginger
2t toasted sesame oil
1T chopped cilantro
panko crumbs
extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for Garnishes:
creme fraiche
wasabi caviar
pickled ginger
squid ink
Here we have a clear case in which Nana would say, “Do what I say and not what I do.” I made this twice in a 2 day period and when I made it the 2nd time, I realized we had no more fresh ginger, so I improvised and used the red pickle ginger. Place the flour in a small bowl and mix in enough sake to make a thick heavy cream consistency. Add the garlic and ginger, then the finely chopped cilantro and mix. this cilantro could have been chopped more. I may try pureeing it in the future.
Start setting up your flour and panko bowls near a frying pan with 1/2” of olive oil over medium heat. Dredge the first batch of mussels in flour. Add the sesame oil to the batter that may have started thickening by this time. Use enough to thin it back to the heavy cream consistency.
Dip the floured mussels into the batter, then dredge them in the panko. You may put them directly into the frying pan or set aside until you have enough mussels to fill the frying pan. The only advantage in setting them aside is that they will all be cooked at approximately the same time.
Fry over a medium heat and turn when they show signs of browning. These mussels were precooked and shelled, so they need little actual cooking. The aim is to brown the exterior and warm the interior of each mussel. Drain them on paper towels and if you have more to cook, place the finished mussels in a warm oven at 200 degrees.
Each of these mussels is topped with mayonnaise combined with squid ink. It has a hint of “the sea” in it’s taste, just a little brine flavor which you can also get with a gray, moist sea salt. The mussel in the top left photo is garnished with red, pickled ginger. In the top right photo, grated lemon peel was used as the garnish, and in this lower photo you can see the wasabi flavored caviar. Since I could only find the caviar in one shop in a quantity of 4 ounces, it was imperative to use as much as possible, since it doesn’t keep long.
Since there also was a glut of creme fraiche  on hand, I tried that with the wasabi caviar and have to admit, it had the best look and brightest flavor. Even though I prefer the fresh ginger, the cilantro and red  ginger give this a great look for the Christmas holidays.

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