If you happen to look for a recipe for skillet roasted mussels you find plenty – either by googling or browsing through various cookbooks; some recipes more convincing than others. And then you find IT. Michael Bauer in Secrets of Success Cookbook: Signature Recipes and Insider Tips from San Francisco’s Best Restaurants* presents Iron Skillet Roasted Mussels. And how could i forget – we had a dinner at LuLu last winter and of course ordered these mussels! ( the rendition was not up to accolades i read everywhere but i liked the name and the idea).
This is what Bauer has to say in the recipe introduction:
When people think of LuLu, one dish comes to mind: Iron Skillet Roasted Mussels. This was the first place in Bay Area to do them. The seafood is roasted with dry heat which makes the shells brittle and gives the mussels a firmer texture and more concentrated flavor. At LuLu, the mussels are roasted in a wood fired oven which imparts a smoky quality. At home they can be cooked in a dry cast-iron skillet on top of the stove… The mussels are served with a clarified butter sauce redolent of garlic, thyme and pepper, making a truly wonderful dish.
This recipe is all about the essential flavor: stark and ultimate.
I used Le Creuset enameled 12" skillet **, dry heated on high for about 5mins, added thoroughly drained mussels in one layer and cooked uncovered (shaking once in a while) : it took less than 2mins to open them all. Off the heat a generous s&p with some parsley. Damn perfect – in fact so much so that nobody used the drowned butter i made – a pure (and rich) mussels flavor needed no adornment…
*: well i don’t own the cookbook but i’m savvy enough to use a search inside books feature at A9.
**: the 12" pan will hold not more than 1.5 lb of mussels so if you have a party plan for several batches – these mussels would be delicious at any temp – hot, warm or chilled.