Mussels with Garlic & Mirin

HX and I stopped by Super H Mart in Duluth after spending the day at Malaysia Fest (only 2 blocks off Buford Highway). A run through the seafood department had him jonesing for shellfish – and he was really pushing for conch. Not being a big fan of the snail/whelk family of scary things from the sea floor, I was able to guide him to much easier to prepare mussels (plus 2lbs was only $1.99 – w00t!).

Preparation was nothing special – the obligatory soaking in the sink, de-bearding, scrubbing and sorting the dead soldiers (which, as it turns out, is a task a six year old will take on with relish). Sautéed garlic and onion in olive oil, added a diced tomato and a healthy splash of mirin ( 味醂, a sweet Japanese rice wine). Tossed in the mussels and simmered for about  5-6 minutes.

Interestingly enough, I find that I treat mussels cooked at home much same as I treat ducks. I seem to be more interested in the “run-off” than the actual dish. To clarify: As much as I love duck, when I roast one at home, I spend an inordinate amount of time collecting every drop of fat (duck butter) that renders from the bird (this stuff is expensive: Graisse de Canard, and worth it – lard of the gods). In a similar vein, with mussels, I’m much more interested in the broth created by cooking them than I am with the mussel itself – I only ended up eating six mussels, but the broth didn’t stand a chance…

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