Thursday, April 2, 2015

Blue Mussels en Saffron Fumet

      Mussels in Saffron Fumet ... Classic!
      Mussels cooked in a flavored broth is a traditional recipe worldwide.  In regions where good saffron is harvested, saffron is usually infused in local seafood recipes.  Mussels en Saffron Fumet is popular in the Mediterranean region, especially in Southern France.
     For a rustic presentation, leave the mussels in the shell.  For a more refined presentation, poach the mussels in the fumet and then shell them after they have cooled.  Either way that this soup is presented is fine, but a nice pattern of contrasting Blue Mussel shell colors in a shallow soup bowl really creates nice eye appeal!

     This recipe yields about 1/2 gallon of fumet.
     Fumet is a light color whitefish broth that has a hint of aromatic vegetable and herb flavor.  Any kind of whitefish scraps and bones can be used.  
     Fumet is usually simmered in a pot, but it also can be baked at a low temperature in an oven.  Fumet that is oven roasted tastes a little richer, so it is usually used to make velouté sauce.  Fumet simmered in a pot tastes more delicate and it is better for clear broth applications or making aspic.  
     Never stir a fumet as it simmers or it will become so cloudy that the broth will have to be clarified!  If the fumet does get cloudy, just strain the fumet into a container, then the cloudy material will settle as sediment on the bottom of the container after about an hour.  
     Step 1:  Place 2 pounds of whitefish bones and meat scraps in a pot.
     Add 1 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1 cup of chopped celery.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped white section of a leek.
     Add 1 small chopped shallot.
     Add 1 pinch of thyme.
     Add 8 parsley stalks.
     Add 1 bay leaf.
     Add 8 black peppercorns.
     Add sea salt to taste.
     Add enough water to cover the bones with 2" of extra water.
     Step 2:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Skim any foam off of the top of the fumet as it slowly heats.
     Step 3:  When the fumet starts to simmer, that is the moment to start the timer!
     Gently simmer the fumet for 45 minutes.
     Step 4:  Carefully pour the fumet through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Allow the fumet cool to room temperature.
     Skim any grease or impurities off the top.
     *The finished fumet can be kept in a refrigerator for 7 days or portions of the fumet can be frozen for later use.
     Blue Mussels en Saffron Fumet:
     This recipe yields 1 classic size individual portion.
     There are several kinds of saffron.  Safflower Saffron is a weak tasting saffron and it is not recommended for this recipe.  Crocus Sativa Saffron is very strong tasting and it is very expensive.  A little bit of this type of saffron goes a long way.  High quality Crocus Sativa Saffron comes from Tuscany Italy, Greece, Persia and Spain.   
     To release the full flavor, rub the saffron between your thumb and finger when adding a pinch to a recipe.)
     Step 1:  Clean and de-beard about 18 to 20 fresh Blue Mussels or Cryovac Packaged Frozen Raw Blue Mussels.
     Step 2:  Heat a large sauce pot over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 2 1/2 cups of the fumet.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon minced shallot.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 pinch of strong Crocus Sativa Saffron.
     Step 3:  Gently boil and reduce the saffron fumet, till only 2 cups remain.
     Step 4:  Add the cleaned mussels.
     Immediately cover the pot with a lid.
     *After 3 or 4 minutes, the mussels will be fully cooked and the shells will open.  Be sure to discard any mussels that do not open.  
     Step 5:  After the mussels open, use tongs to remove them from the fumet and arrange the mussels in a shallow soup bowl.  Try to create a pattern that looks nice.
     Step 6:  Pour the saffron fumet through a fine mesh strainer over the mussels.
     Serve with buttered grilled bread slices of crust French Baguette.
     The flavor of mussels and saffron is rich and satisfying! 

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