Mussels in Butter, Wine & Red Pepper Flakes with Toasted Baguette

Tuesday night’s dinner was a very special dinner. Not only because we had a guest chef appearance by Kristian who made us delicious, butter soaked mussels, but because it was my sister’s first time visiting me in San Francisco. We haven’t spent any real time together in over a year, so we have some catching up to do. We kicked off the visit with 2 huge pots of mussels swimming in butter, wine and Parmesan, next to toasted baguette and a salad nope, no salad.
Kudos to Kristian on a delicious meal. Apparently it isn’t hard to make mussels, though I’ve never made them myself. The scrubbing/debearding/alive or dead mysteries have kept me away. But here goes Kristian, makin’ it look easy…

5 pounds mussels (kept chilled, but not covered – or they suffocate)
4 sticks of butter
1/3 cup red or white wine
4-5 leaves basil, torn
Crushed red pepper flakes
Shaved parmesan
salt and pepper
1 or 2 French baguettes
Olive oil – for drizzling
1 lemon, quartered

To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and the flour and soak for 30 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand. Drain the mussels, then remove the “beard” from each with your fingers. If they’re dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut. 

In (2) large pots, melt (2) sticks of butter in each. Stir in wine and add mussels. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring mussels gently, then cover until mussels open- about 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle basil, parmesan and red pepper flakes. Shake pan with lid on to make sure mussels don’t burn on the bottom, and get covered with the sauce. Serve immediately with baguette and lemon slices. 

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