Mussel and Potato Salad with Capers
Provided by Mel & Sheryl London
There is a French mussel and potato salad called Moules Francillon which calls for Champagne and bits of black truffles – two prohibitively priced ingredients for these times. Our version eliminates the costly ingredients, but it’s just as good.
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 whole black peppercorns
- 3 pounds mussels, scrubbed and bearded (if necessary)
- 2 pounds very small red new potatoes
- Salt to taste
- 2/3 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 3 medium scallions)
- ½ cup finely diced celery (1 rib)
- 1 cup finely diced Persian cucumbers (2-3 small)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½-1 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
In a 12 inch skillet, bring the wine, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, bay leaf and peppercorns to a boil over high heat. Add the mussels and cover the pan tightly. Cook for 4-5 minutes, sliding the pan back and forth occasionally until the mussels open. Turn off the heat, uncover and let the mussels cool in their liquid. Discard any that do not open.
In a 3 quart saucepan, add the potatoes with water to cover and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and let cool. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, if they are small, cut them in half – or if larger, into ¾ inch pieces. Place them in a large bowl.
Remove the mussels from their shells (reserving several double empty shells for decorative garnish). Strain ¼ cup of mussel liquid and reserve. Add the shucked mussels to the potatoes in the bowl. (There should be 1 ½ -2 cups of mussel meat) Then add the scallions, celery and cucumbers to the bowl. Do no stir.
In a small bowl, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar, the mustard, anchovy paste and salt and pepper to taste. Add ½ cup mayo, or more if needed to make a thickish, creamy sauce. Thin the sauce, if necessary, with a bit of the reserved mussel liquid for proper consistency. Pour the sauce over the salad and fold gently to blend, sprinkling with parsley and capers as you combine the ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon the salads onto a serving platter. Nest the shells one inside the other to form a decorative ring around the platter.
Makes 4 first course servings or 4 light lunch or dinner
MEL & SHERYL LONDON are the authors of eleven cookbooks, including “A Seafood Celebration” and “The Fish Lovers” Cookbook.” They are winners of the James Beard Award and the Tastemaker Award and were finalists for the IACP Cookbook Award for “The Gourmet Garage Cookbook.” They have been loyal and loving customers of The Lobster Place since the company first opened its doors in Chelsea Market.