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Mussels with Saffron & Leeks

The EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry Cookbook (2006)

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Mussels are an excellent fast, healthy dinner. Look for them on ice in mesh bags at your fish counter; the individual mollusks should be mostly closed, or they should close when tapped. The only other thing you need with this aromatic dinner? A couple of crunchy rolls that just might happen to fall into the sauce.


Mussels with Saffron & Leeks

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced and washed
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup bottled clam juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron, (see Ingredient note)
  • 3 pounds mussels, cleaned (see Tip)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, leeks, garlic, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion and leeks are softened and just starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add wine, clam juice and saffron, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in mussels. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and steam until all the mussels have opened, 4 to 5 minutes. (Discard any unopened mussels.) Stir in parsley.

Tips & Notes

  • Ingredient Note: Literally the stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Each crocus produces only 3 stigmas, requiring over 75,000 flowers for each pound of saffron. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. It's used sparingly to add golden yellow color and flavor to a wide variety of Middle Eastern, African and European-inspired foods. Find it in the specialty-herb section of large supermarkets, gourmet-food shops and www.tienda.com. Wrapped in foil and placed in a container with a tight-fitting lid, it will keep in a cool, dry place for several years.
  • Tip: To clean mussels, scrub them with a stiff brush under cold running water. Scrape off any barnacles using the shell of another mussel. Just before cooking, pull off the fuzzy "beard" from each one (some mussels may not have a beard). Discard any mussels with broken shells or any that do not close when tapped.

Nutrition

Per serving: 350 calories; 12 g fat (2 g sat, 7 g mono); 64 mg cholesterol; 22 g carbohydrates; 29 g protein; 2 g fiber; 652 mg sodium; 534 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (147% daily value), Iron (50% dv), Vitamin C (50% dv), Folate (32% dv), Zinc (22% dv), Vitamin A (20% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2

Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 4 lean meat


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