Vermouth Steamed Mussels
Vermouth Steamed Mussels with Lemon Verbena, Sage, and Ginger
Lior Lev Sercarz, from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz
2 tablespoons dried lemon verbena leaves
2 teaspoons dried onion slices (3 grams)
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves (1 gram)
1 teaspoon ground ginger (2 grams)
Finely grind the lemon verbena, onion, and sage together then immediately mix with the ginger.
2 pounds mussels, scrubbed well
1 large shallot, minced
1 celery stalk, very finely diced
1⁄2 cup vermouth
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Place the mussels in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let them sit for 1 minute to spit out any sand, then lift them out and set them into a colander (don’t dump them with the water into the colander, otherwise the sand on the bottom of the bowl will go right back on the mussels). Discard any mussels with cracked shells. Pluck or cut off any beards, then rinse and scrub the shells well to thoroughly clean them. Repeat the process as needed until there is no more sand or grit left.
Heat a Dutch oven or wide pot over high heat for 5 minutes. Once the Dutch oven is really hot, add the mussels, shallot, celery, vermouth, and spice blend. Cover immediately and cook for 2 minutes. Uncover, stir well to mix everything evenly, cover again, and cook for another 4 minutes. Uncover, stir again, cover, and cook until the mussels open, 1 to 2 minutes more.
Remove the pot from the heat, stir well, and generously drizzle with some oil. Serve immediately with good bread to soak up the sauce (discard any mussels that don’t open).