"Seethed" Mussels with Parsley and Vinegar
published in Epicurious
By Kathleen Curtin, Sandra L. Oliver, and Plimoth Plantation
Makes 8 servings
While 17th-century English diners had never heard of the word "appetizer," they certainly understood the idea of foods served in several large courses for formal or court dinners. For modern diners, however, this lovely 17th-century mussel recipe makes a perfect first course.
After months of eating a sea diet of dried peas, oats, and salt meats, the passengers on the Mayflower were delighted to find mussels when they first made landing on Cape Cod. They were abundant and easily gathered. This recipe is adapted from Thomas Dawson, The Second Part of the Good Huswives Jewell, 1597.
4 pounds of mussels
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Place mussels in cold water and scrub them clean. "Beard" them by taking off the tuft of fibers projecting from the shell (if there are any—many farm-raised mussels are "beardless"). Discard any mussels that are broken or do not close when touched.
Place 1 cup of water and all ingredients except the mussels into a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the mussels and reduce the heat so that the mussels cook at a simmer. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, for 10 minutes or until all of the mussels have opened fully. Keep an eye on the mussels—if cooked too long, they can be chewy.
To serve, pour the mussels and broth into bowls, setting another empty bowl on the table for discarded shells.