My mom is from Cataluña, the northeast region of Spain, and our family grew up eating what’s now called a “Mediterranean Diet.” The aroma of olive oil, garlic and onions sauteeing in a fry pan are comfort food smells in my kitchen. I often joke that when we were growing up my mom would begin cooking dinner each night with these three ingredients, and then say, “What should we have for dinner?” and then add chicken, fish, vegetables, etc. to the pan.
A few weeks ago Scallywag, who as an unusual palate for a six-year old, requested one of his favorite dinners: greenlip mussels. I’m always looking for different “brain foods” to add variety to our diet. Greenlip mussels are reported to have low mercury content and are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. I have prepared greenlip mussels in many different ways, but my favorite recipe is a simple broth of my mom’s favorite meal starter plus chopped fresh ginger, red peppers, white wine, Thai fish sauce and sweet chili sauce. The greenlip mussels we are able to buy in our neighborhood are cooked and flash frozen so we only need to steam them for about eight minutes in the broth before we eat them. In this photo you can see apricot and cream colored mussels. The apricot colored ones are female; the cream ones are male. They taste the same.
I will never forget the first time I tasted greenlip mussels at the Mussel Boys Restaurant in Havelock South, near the top of the South Island in New Zealand in the year 2000. They were that special! The Mussel Boys Restaurant was once described by Travel and Leisure magazine as a “funky roadside shack.” Greenlip mussels are endemic to New Zealand and although the mussels are large in size, they are not chewy, but tender and flavorful. The Mussel Boys prepare greenlips is many different ways. If you have the opportunity to visit New Zealand, don’t miss this great delicacy! And if you can find greenlip mussels in your neighborhood, they are easy to prepare to make a quick, tasty, nutritious meal.
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