Tag Archives: mussels

Underground Dinner with Ryan Barnett

You’ve heard of those underground dinners, right?  Pop-up restaurants?  Well, Hub and I were unexpected stand-ins for a good friend of ours who couldn’t make it.  I had always wanted to attend an event like this but never really gotten around to it.  Such fun!

It was held at My Private Chef in Deep Ellum by Chef Ryan Barnett.  There were two communal tables and a four course dinner.  Delicious!  Ryan likes to focus on locally sourced food.  The freshness and purity of the flavors really showed through in each dish.

Our first course was a chilled mussel salad with peach and grapefruit.  A light vinaigrette and the bitterness of the greens perfectly complimented the shellfish and the fruit.  I would have never thought of a mussel salad, but I will from now on.  It was very nice.

Next, a veloute’ of sweet Texas corn topped with a little crab and some thinly sliced green onion.  And sweet it was.  It was delicately, yet fully flavored.  Creamy and smooth, delicious with the little touch of crab.

I wanted to pick up the bowl and drink it.  But, I behaved and used my spoon!

Next on to the fish.  Flounder served with an assortment of local squash.  Very nice.  A squash blossom was a lovely touch, as well.  The flounder was cooked perfectly.

So good.  I love fish.  But, what I don’t usually like at all is lemon desserts.  I am glad that I’m not the type that won’t even try something I have disliked in the past because the lemon tart was fantastic!  Not overpowering.  Tender crust.  It really was excellent.

Chef Ryan will be doing these dinners every two weeks.  We went to the first one on the 3rd.  So check in with him for more info… ChefRB@me.com.  Request to be on the mailing list if you want to be notified of new dinners.  This one was $50 for four courses. It was BYOB with wine service provided.  The service was great.  Conversation was lively and the food…  wonderful!

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Mussels in White Wine

I love this dish.  It’s so simple and just wonderful. 

Start with 2 pounds of live mussels in the shell.  Rinse them off and clean off any beard that might be there.  The mussels that I buy at Central Market barely need any cleaning at all.  If one doesn’t naturally close when you run cold water into it or tap it on the counter, throw it away.  It’s dead. 

The recipe originally calls for shallots.  I didn’t have any today.  So, I used sliced green onion, the white part.  Fresh bay leaves are fantastic.  If you don’t have fresh use one dried bay leaf.  The flavor of dried can ba more pungent.  Several cloves of garlic mashed through a press or chopped.  A few sprigs of parsley.  And white wine.  I use Chardonnay because that’s what’s usually in the fridge.  Any dry white will do.  Butter comes at the end.

Throw everything into the pot except the mussels.  I’d say that’s about a cup of wine.

Let it simmer over med-high heat to combine the flavors and kill some of the alcohol flavor.   Add the mussels and cover the pot for 3 or 4 minutes.  Open and turn them over, pulling the bottom ones up to the top.  Cover and cook for a little while longer.  As soon as they are open, they are done.  So, don’t overcook.

With a slotted spoon, move the mussels to a big bowl  leaving the juices behind.  Remove one side of the mussel shell from each.  If they don’t open or if you can’t pull off the other side easily, toss those too.  Put the side of the shell containing the meat into a serving dish.  Meanwhile, reduce the juices until it tastes good to you.  Then add half a stick of cold butter cut into pieces.  Take off heat and swirl until melted or stir with a spoon.  Pour the sauce over the mussels in the serving dish.

The ones I had in the summer were prettier.  So, here’s their picture.  These were made with shallots.

Serve with crusty bread for dipping into the juice.  Yum.