My childhood summers were spent on the South Fork of Long Island, New York, where we clammed in the bay, crabbed in the salt ponds with heads of snapper, blues and porgies, and foraged for ropes of mussels. My dad would hold on to my ankles and lower me between the rocks of the jetties on Georgica and Main beaches in East Hampton, and I would pull dozens of pounds from those rocks for our bonfire cookouts. We’d use the larger ones for this dish the next night at home. This is a dish I have eaten all over coastal Chile and in Galicia in Spain—it’s simple but inspired.
Steamed Mussels with Aioli
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 1/4 red bell pepper
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/2 Thai bird chile, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups white wine
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 celery ribs, minced (1/2 cup)
- 3 pounds large mussels, debearded and scrubbed
- 1/2 bunch chives, cut into 1-inch lengths
Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, 7 to 9 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast the pepper over a gas flame, turning with tongs, until charred on the outside, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes. Peel, seed and chop the pepper.
In a food processor, combine the toasted pine nuts with the bell pepper, egg yolk, garlic, chile and vinegar and pulse to combine. With the machine on, drizzle in both oils until emulsified. Add the parsley, cilantro and lemon juice and pulse to combine. Season the aioli with salt.
In a large pot, combine the wine, shallots and celery and bring to a boil. Add the mussels, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mussels open, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool. Remove 1 shell from each mussel. Arrange the mussels in a single layer on a large platter. Spoon some aioli over the mussels and garnish with chives. Serve.
MAKE AHEAD The aioli can be refrigerated overnight.