Mussels with Saffron & Leeks
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.
Ingredient Note: Literally the dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron is the world's most expensive spice. Over 75,000 flowers are required 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 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.
2 vegetable, 4 lean meat