I know I’m being terribly redundant by posting another recipe for mussels. When deciding what to photograph for my next post, I was trying to hit two birds with one stone; I wanted to shoot something that would qualify for a “hard light” assignment for my Sunday lighting class. Hard light is a good choice when you want to bring out the inherent drama in a photo ie: colour and texture. I immediately thought of pomegranates, one of my favourite things to shoot but since it’s July and not pomegranate season, I decided to do mussels again–this time in their vivid blue and textured shells. Despite the summer season, I’m really into moody food photos lately, shots full of contrast and grainy textures, rich with indigo and other deep colours. Anyway … onto mussels.
I love steamed mussels because the flavour and ingredient possibilities are endless, from coconut, to curry to spicy chorizo. This recipe is a simple one, with a broth of saffron and white wine, enhanced with clam juice for a bit of tang. If clam juice is unavailable or inconvenient, a couple of cups of vegetable stock is a great substitute. Scrub each mussel with a stiff brush to remove any sand or dirt. Farmed mussels in particular usually have a beard, a mass of fibers that stick out from the shell. The beard can be removed by pulling it toward the hinge end of the mussel, which will not kill it. Be sure to discard any mussel that is chipped or broken and only eat mussels that open during the cooking process.