Steamed Mussels with Leeks & Root Vegetables (a Memory of a Summer Day in Oslo)
Mussels always take me back to that sparkling summer in Oslo, the first time I visited the city of my father’s birth. Now these little shellfish, blåskjell as they’re called in Norway, prompt memories of that special time.
Before that trip, I had associated mussels with Normandy due to signs advertising moules-frites outside the cafes in the beachside town where I studied during college. These days I take what would typically be considered a French preparation with leeks, parsley, and creamy wine-spiked broth and give it a Norwegian touch with a medley of root vegetables and scattering of dill.
The results are so satisfying and hearty that there’s no need to fry up a bunch of potatoes on the side—this is truly a one-pot meal. When I serve this with a refreshing pilsner, a shot of aquavit, and a dose of imagination, I can almost imagine I’m back in Oslo on that magical summer day.
Steamed Mussels with Leeks and Root VegetablesDaytona Strong, www.outside-oslo.com
- 4 pounds mussels
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large leek white and light green parts only, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- 3 small (14 ounces total) parsnips peeled and cut into 1/3-inch pieces
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup freshly-grated horseradish plus more for garnish
- Rinse the mussels, and debeard if necessary.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until it glistens, then add leeks and sauté until they soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the parsnips, rutabaga, chicken broth, white wine, and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Add the mussels, cover, and steam until the shells open—this should take only a few minutes. (Discard any mussels with broken shells or ones that do not open.) Transfer the mussels to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.
- Add the butter to the pan along with the chopped herbs and horseradish, stirring until melted. Pour over the mussels, then sprinkle with additional dill and horseradish to finish.