Try this for an easy light dinner. Mussels, like crabs, only net about 1/4 pound of “meat” per pound of whole shellfish. A couple pounds of mussels could run as little as $10 at the fish market. If you do the math, the protein is much more expensive than other sources — but the mussels are really just a condiment in this salad. You don’t need to eat a whole bunch of them. And they are delicious.
2 pounds mussels, debearded just before cooking
6 ounces baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger (you can peel it with the edge of a bowl of a spoon then chop or simply use large holes on a box grater without peeling it. The skin sort of magically folds back)
2 to 3 teaspoons chopped garlic
Large pinch crushed red chili flakes (two fingers and thumb’s worth)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In a salad bowl, toss the spinach with the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Steam the mussels in a large covered stock pot until they open — just a few minutes. After they are cool enough to handle, remove the mussels from their shells.
Gently warm the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the mussels, ginger, garlic and chili flakes. Sauté until heated — just a minute or 2. Add this to the spinach. It will wilt a little. Adjust seasoning and serve warm with a crusty bread and beverage of your choice.
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