Normandy meets the Pondicherry of my post-post-colonial imagination in this improvised dish I made last night.
2 tablespoons of butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon of minced jalapeÃ±o
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 pinch of saffron (optional, I just couldn’t help myself)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely-ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon black or brown mustard seeds
4 pods of cardamom
2 bay leaves
1 bag of live mussels
1 cup of dry cider (I used Cidre BouchÃ© Brut Etienne Dupont, an unfiltered and unpasteurized cider from Normandy)
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup of crÃ¨me fraÃ®che, I suppose regular heavy cream would work too
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley and/or cilantro for garnish
Clean the mussels and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and sautÃ© everything except the mussels and the liquids over medium heat until lightly browned. Take your time with this part to achieve a nice caramelization of the onions.
Add the mussels, cider and lemon juice and simmer until the mussels pop open. Stir in the crÃ¨me fraÃ®che and serve immediately with crusty bread (or, if you are hardcore, French fries) to soak up the sauce. To drink: the rest of the bottle of cider. Yum!
Serves two people as a main course, or 3 or 4 for an appetizer.