Recipe: 10-Minute Mussels

Like a lot of humble working-class fare in recent years, moules frites has been elevated to bistros and fancy dining rooms. At NYC’s Flex Mussels, 17 different versions of the classic Belgian dish anchor the menu, for $18 (classic) to $21 (“Maine”: w/ lobster, smoked bacon, corn, white chowder, parsley). I much prefer to make mussels at home because I don’t feel like choosing between paying $20 for mussels (seriously, they’re only $3.99/lb. at Whole Foods), or getting food poisoning at a less reputable establishment. Fortunately, they’re incredibly easy to make. Here’s a simple recipe that takes less than 10 minutes from beginning to end, and tastes great!


1 lb. Mussels (per person)

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 Andouille or Chorizo sausage, sliced

1/2 bunch Parsley, chopped roughly

2 tbsp. Butter

1 cup White Wine or Dry Vermouth



1) Clean your mussels by scrubbing them under cold water, and pulling off the “beards”. There are only two things to know about eating mussels safely: (a) Don’t buy/use any raw mussels that are already opened. Ask the fish monger to sort them out if you’re buying by the pound. (b) Don’t eat any cooked mussels that haven’t opened. Do not force them open.
2) Heat a pot with a lid, preferably a clear lid. Add butter to hot pot. Add sausage, and cook through. The sausage is obviously optional, though I think it enriches the broth and gives it a bit of a smokey flavor. You can leave it out, but in that case I might add a diced shallot. Add garlic, brown.
3) Add cleaned mussels. Quickly sprinkle some salt (not too much, the mussels are naturally salty from the sea), and pepper. Add chopped parsley and splash over white wine. Cover quickly with lid.
4) While holding down the lid, vigorously shake the pot back and forth to turn over the mussels. Once the mussels open from the steaming, they are cooked–this took 90 seconds for 1 lb; I can’t imagine it taking more than 3-4 min. even for larger portions. Some recipes say 8-10 minutes… but that will completely overcook them. Live dangerously, I say.
5) Portion mussels into bowls, remember to throw out unopened mussels. Pour over broth, and mop it up with warm, crusty bread!

Recipe: The Best Braised Short Ribs, with Coffee and Chili.

Coffee and Chili Braised Short Ribs

Braised short ribs are probably my favorite thing to make for people I love (if I’ve made this for you, you know I care). Short ribs are beef, and they are literally the “short” ribs located at the end of the rib cage, the ones closest to the tail end of the cow. A braise is simply  a way of slowly cooking something, usually a tougher cut of meat, at a lower-than-normal temperature.

It’s a dish that’s fancy enough to impress dinner guests, and yet surprisingly easy to prepare, given a simple willingness to invest the time. They’re popular at nice restaurants these days as a cheap cut of meat that can be turned into a delicious, tender product (much like skirt steak or lamb shank). Personally I think there’s something deeply romantic about a long, slow braise. It brings to mind the days of yore when our great-great-grandparents would stew a peasant’s portion of meat for Sunday supper, throwing in whatever vegetables could be harvested from the garden. In that manner, it’s a perfect Stone Soup recipe! The braising liquid becomes enriched by the beef, the vegetables, the herbs, the wine, and other ingredients you add to become a perfect sauce for the short ribs later. And the ribs themselves are so tender, fork tender, that they melt in your mouth. Luxurious, spicy, smoky, tender beef… is there anything more sexy than that?

Braised short ribs can be customized however you want, and this particular recipe was cobbled together from so many versions that I won’t bother hunting them down again and linking them all, except to nod in Mark Bittman’s general direction. Here are the ingredients:

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