Here's yet another winning recipe from Renee Erickson's new cookbook, A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus. It was inspired by mussels she had at a small beachside restaurant in Normandy, where huge needlepoint nudes adorn the walls and guests fetch their own water and bread. The bistro sounds memorable, and the mussels obviously were. Hers are cooked in hard cider with shallots, butter, and Dijon mustard. (This made a beautiful broth all by itself, but why not gild those lilies?) She finishes them with uplifting and enriching lemon juice and crème fraîche, and a good amount of whole tarragon leaves, which perfume the delicious broth. Beautifully relaxed, elegant, evocative, and intensely aromatic, this will score you big points with so little effort.
Why I picked this recipe: I want to be at a seaside bistro in France right now, or at least pretend to be.
What worked: All lovely in my book. The broth was sublime.
What didn't: My husband found the tarragon too strong, but I thought it was perfect.
Suggested tweaks: If you're on the fence about tarragon, go easy. If you love it, go crazy.
Thanks to the folks at Sasquatch Books, we have 5 copies of A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus to giveaway this week.