California Mussels at Tongue Point, Salt Creek State Park, Washington, USA
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Fettuccine and Spinach in
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Saffron or Crocus, from "La Guirlande De Julie," circa 1642 (W/C on Vellum)
Saffron or Crocus, from "La Guirlande De Julie," circa 1642
(W/C on Vellum)
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Saffron and Sky II
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Fettuccine and Spinach in
Saffron-Mussel Broth


Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home
by Charlie Trotter, 2000, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley

serves 4

2 pound mussels, cleaned and debearded
5 cloves garlic
1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 cups white wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves, cleaned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fettuccine

To prepare the mussels:  Discard any mussels that have opened and do
not close when gently tapped on a work surface. Place the garlic, saffron,
shallots, white wine, stock, chives, and parsley in a stockpot and bring to
a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the mussels, cover, and cook for 3
to 5 minutes, or until all of the mussels have opened. (If a mussel does
not open after cooking, throw it away.) Remove the mussels from the
pan and set aside. Add the spinach to the stockpot, and stir until wilted.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare the fettuccine
:  While the mussels are cooking, bring a large
pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine to the pan and cook for
7 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
Place some of the fettuccine in the center of each bowl and top with
some of the mussels. Ladle the mussel broth into the bowls and top
with freshly ground black pepper.

Insights: Saffron is the yellow stigmas from a small purple crocus. Each
flower produces only 3 stigmas and they must be harvested by hand, and
then dried. It takes some 14,000 dried stigmas to make 1 ounce of saffron,
which explains why it is the most expensive spice. Luckily, with saffron,
a little goes a long way.


More from Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home:
Cilantro-Crusted Tuna Loin with Bok Choy
Crab Cakes with Sweet Curry-Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Grilled Scallop and Vidalia Onion Brochettes

Shrimp with Spicy Fruit Salsa
 

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