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Dinner Date

03/30/2012 04:40AM ● Published by Style

Wine bottle photo by Aaron Roseli. All other photos courtesy of Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Bucatini, “Oysters and Mussels”

Bluestem: The Cookbook
by Colby Garrelts and Megan Garrelts with Bonjwing Lee

(Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2011, $45)

The “oysters” in this dish are actually oyster mushrooms, whose round lobed shape vaguely resembles their bivalve counterpart. Make sure that your mussels are fresh. They should smell like a clean beach. Toss out any mussels that are chipped, cracked, or don’t close when you gently tap them against the counter. To keep your mussels fresh, take them out of the bag and put them into a bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and ice cubes and put them in the refrigerator. Stored this way, they should keep for up to 3 days.

  • 10 oz. bucatini or spaghetti
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 oz. oyster mushrooms, trimmed
  • Salt and freshly cracked white pepper
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. saffron
  • 1½ cups white wine
  • 1 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • Chopped fresh chives or chervil, for garnish

Bring a large stockpot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil. While the water is heating, prepare a large ice bath.
Cook the pasta in the stockpot according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and drop it into the ice bath. Let the pasta cool in the bath for 2 minutes, then drain well and set aside.
Heat the butter in a large sauté pan. When the butter is melted and frothy, add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the mushrooms until they have softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
In a large bowl, combine the shallots, garlic, saffron, wine and mussels.
Heat a large sauté pan with a tight-fitting lid over high heat. When the pan is extremely hot, carefully dump the contents of the bowl into the pan and cover immediately. Steam the mussels until they just start to open, about 2 minutes. As soon as they have opened, remove the pan from the heat and add the cooked pasta and mushrooms. Toss everything together, allowing the pasta to heat through and absorb some of the cooking liquid. Pick out any of the mussels that have not opened and discard them. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide the pasta, mussels and mushrooms among 4 large pasta bowls. Garnish with chives and serve immediately. Serves 4.

 

CONUNDRUM WHITE TABLE WINE BY CAYMUS

You know the name Caymus, but would you be surprised and pleased if you could get one of their wines for less than $20 retail? Well Caymus Conundrum White is that wine!
This wine is made up of five white grape varietals, all sourced from California: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat Canelli, Viognier and Semillon. This may sound like a  strange combination, but it works really well and differs from “normal” northern California white wines with more tropical flavors of melon, pineapple and pear with hints of lemon zest and grapefruit; the taste is often called exotic. Conundrum has a satisfying finish with enough complexity to accompany creative full-flavored Asian cuisine. It can also be served with appetizers or desserts and pairs well with spicy foods.
You know anything from Caymus Winery is going to be good, and for the price you can’t go wrong! The only “conundrum” will be deciding which varietal takes center stage and what you want to eat while you enjoy it.

Richard Righton
Owner, Bidwell Street Bistro in Folsom

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