Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Mussels With Basil-Garlic Breadcrumbs

 

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This style of mussels is so delicious. Most importantly, the broth that rests in the bottom of the bowl is heavenly. This is my recipe for Mussels With BasilGarlic Breadcrumbs.

Having the toasted flavored bread crumbs nestled inside the shells gives great texture to the mussels. The fresh herbs and garlic add extra flavor. It’s so simple to make. Let me show you.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Time for Mussels: 30 to 40 minutes (includes filtering the sand out in the sink)
Prep Time For Bread Crumbs: 10 minutes
Cook Time For Bread Crumbs: 5 to 7 minutes
Total Time: 57 minutes
Yields: 2 servings (1 1/2 pounds per person)
Equipment: large stockpot, spider, mini food processor, large mixing bowl, Microplane

Ingredients:
3 pounds of mussels
1 bottle of Chardonnay
1 tablespoon of Pernod
1 stick of melted butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

Directions For Prepping Mussels:
I bought 3 pounds of PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels at my local seafood store. After going through all of them, you may find ones that are open or cracked. This means they are no longer alive and are no good.

If you come across those that may be slightly open, you can do a quick test by giving them a good thump with your fingers, if they don’t close, get rid of them. They’re dead and no good. Then you may find some with a chipped shell from the shipping process. Get rid of them.

Next, when you’re scrubbing the outside shells, removing debris and whatnot, you want to remove the *beard from each mussel. Look, everything that’s worthwhile means doing the work. Great seafood recipes are no different.

Note: During the cleaning of the mussels, they must remain as cold as possible. Once they’ve been cleaned, immediately return them to an ice-filled container.

Next, I fill up my sink with water adding in a couple of tablespoons of flour. Using my hands, I swish the flour around until the water becomes cloudy. I add all the cleaned mussels into the water-filled sink. Mussels act like a filter and will drink the flour/water mixture and spit the water back out, along with any sand they may have inside their shells. This process only takes a couple of minutes. Then, I drain the water from the sink and spray the mussels down with clean water. I divide the mussels into three large Tupperware containers. Top each container with ice then transfer the containers to the refrigerator. It’s time to start on my broth for the mussels.

In a large preheated stockpot over medium-high heat add the cleaned mussels. Pour in a whole bottle of white wine. Place the lid on and let the mussels steam. Once all the mussels have opened, they’re done. If you see any mussels that have not opened discard them. I like to stir the mussels once through the steaming process so they can all drink up some of the wine. This whole process happens really quickly.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat add unsalted butter. Allow the butter to melt then add Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and Pernod. To the melted butter add Italian seasoned bread crumbs. Using a spatula, toss to coat. Folding the bread crumbs continuously, until the bread crumbs have absorbed the flavored butter and have toasted up nicely 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside.

In a food processor, add the garlic cloves, pulse until minced. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the pine nuts, lemon zest, and toasted breadcrumbs, mix to combine.

Next, to the food processor add the Italian flat-leaf parsley and fresh basil leaves. Pulse them a few times just until finely chopped but not minced. Transfer to the bowl containing the toasted breadcrumb mixture, stir to combine.

To serve, ladle the mussels into a serving bowl. Finish by generously sprinkling the toasted basil-garlic breadcrumbs over the top. These are my Mussels With Basil-Garlic Breadcrumbs.

*Beard: The beard also known as byssus threads. They’re filaments that the mussel uses to secure itself to hard surfaces. they’re usually brownish and may appear somewhat like seaweed.

Mussels Three Ways

Mussels In A Tomato-Basil White Wine

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Stuffed Grape Leaves With Egg-Lemon Sauce

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After visiting the International Food Club, here in Orlando, I came away with a jar grape leaves. I knew right then that I’d be making the traditional Stuffed Grape Leaves With Egg-Lemon Sauce.

Before making this dish, I did speak to a few people of Greek descent what they used in their filling. I wanted to know how much their recipes varied when it came to this recipe. I found out they were all pretty much the same.

Next, I did a little research, I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. What I found was, there was one difference from those I spoke to and the online recipes which called for adding some type of nuts to the filling. I decided to make this recipe as authentic as possible giving the option of adding chopped pine nuts or walnuts. That being said, this dish is definitely a labor of love. 😊

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mint

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Fresh Mint Leaves

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Ground Sirloin (2)

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White Wine And Unsalted Chicken Broth

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White Wine And Unsalted Chicken Broth

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Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven pot with a tight-fitting lid, medium-size mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, 12-inch sauté pan

Ingredients:
1/3 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (1 tablespoon for sautéeing the onions)
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped fine
1 pound of lean ground sirloin, 90% lean (substitute ground lamb)
1/2 cup long-grain rice, (Jasmine) uncooked
3 cups chicken broth, unsalted (plus 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can, low sodium for EggLemon Sauce)
1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
2 tablespoons of pine nuts (optional)
2 tablespoons of fresh dill (1/2 the amount if dried)
2 tablespoons of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (1/2 the amount if dried)
1 tablespoon of fresh mint (1/2 the amount if dried))
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
1 (16-ounce) jar of grape leaves, drained and rinsed
7 whole lemons (for both the grape leaves, egg-lemon sauce, plus 1 to 2 lemons for garnish)

Ingredients For The Liquids: 
3 cups chicken broth, unsalted
1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon of olive oil

Ingredients: Egg-Lemon Sauce (Avgolemono Sauce)
4 egg yolks (substitute “Egg Beaters”)
1-10 3/4-ounce can chicken broth, low sodium
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions: Grape Leaves:
The very first step is to rinse the long grain rice of any excess starch. Place 1 cup of Jasmine rice into a large bowl and cover with water, 3 cups. Let the rice sit until the water turns cloudy. Drain the water and repeat this process four times until the water remains clear. Drain the rice into a large bowl, set aside

Line a large plate with a paper towel. Remove the grape leaves from the jar, separating them carefully, removing the hard stem from each leaf. Rinse each one at a time really well to remove any and all brine.

Let the excess water drain onto the paper towel, patting dry the top of each one of the leaves before transferring them to a large bowl. The imperfect and/or smaller leaves, I used to line the bottom of the pot. This will stop the grape leaves from having direct contact with the bottom of the pot and ensure they will not burn.

Note: The imperfect and/or smaller leaves, use to line the bottom of the greased pot. This will stop the grape leaves from having direct contact with the bottom of the pot and ensure they won’t burn.

In the Dutch oven, on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Add diced onions and sliced green onions sauté until just until soft, 2 to 3 minutes.

Next, add the ground sirloin to the pot. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break up the meat. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Continue cooking until the meat is brown and cooked through, 10 minutes. Add the uncooked rice and combine. Transfer to the bowl holding the uncooked rice.

Next, for the pine nuts (optional) and herbs. Add chopped mint, dill, and flat-leaf Italian parsley to the meat and rice mixture, stir to combine. Allow the filling to cool before stuffing the grape leaves.

Tip: One important thing to remember is, you want to stuff the leaves fairly tight but not too tight. The rice is still going to cook in the next step, that said, the rice may expand a bit more and you don’t want the grape leaves to break or to come apart while cooking.

Lay a plastic baggie down on a cutting board. Place a leaf, shiny side down. Add a heaping teaspoon of filling to the bottom portion of each leaf. Next, bring the bottom of the leaf up over the filling then folded in each side and continued to roll the rest of the leaf. Similar to if you were rolling up a mini burrito.

Grease the bottom of the Dutch oven with the remaining grapeseed oil. Line the bottom of the pot with the smaller-imperfect grape leaves. Place the stuffed grape leaves in a circular pattern into the pot. There will be two layers of stuffed grape leaves when finished.

In a measuring cup, add fresh lemon juice, olive oil, dry white wine, unsalted chicken broth, and mix. Pour this liquid over the grape leaves.

Before placing the lid onto the pot, place a heavy plate, upside down on top of the stuffed grape leaves to prevent the leaves from unrolling. On medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the covered pot from the heat and set aside. Star the Egg-Lemon sauce.

Directions For Egg-Lemon Sauce, Avgolemono Sauce:
In a medium-size bowl lightly beat 4 egg yolks with 1/2 the can of unsalted chicken broth. In another bowl add the juice of 4 lemons with the remaining chicken broth and Kosher salt, stir.

On medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Add the 2 heaping tablespoons of all-purpose flour whisking to form a *roux and light blond in color. Slowly add the lemon juice/chicken brother mixture, continuously whisking until thick and smooth.

Remove from heat for, around 2 minutes, or until mixture has cooled down enough to add the egg yolk mixture. You DO NOT want the eggs to scramble. You want a smooth creamy sauce.

Gradually add the beaten egg yolk mixture continuously whisking until smooth.

Arrange the Stuffed Grape Leaves on a large serving platter along with the Egg-Lemon Sauce. Garnish with lemon slices.

*Roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces.

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Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed Artichoke

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Growing up, whenever there was a special occasion this dish was in high demand. I can remember she would always ask what it was that we would like her to make. Stuffed Artichokes was one of those dishes.

I believe that Italians utilize as much of a vegetable as they can. If you know anything about artichokes, much of it is either trimmed or cut. Preparing the artichokes using this method prevents that waste. Let me explain. I find that many home cooks tend to be intimidated by this strange thistle. I’m here to help fix that fear.

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Artichokes

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Prosciutto

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Proscuito

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Pine Nuts

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Take the cooled artichoke and remove the center. This is where the thistle is located and is not editable. Start by pulling the leaves apart gently until the center of the artichoke is exposed, take a tablespoon and dig out the thistle. It looks like a circular hairy piece also known as the choke. Repeat this process for the remaining artichokes.

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You can see here above how the center is now hollowed out. To stuff, the artichokes, start with the bottom working your way around pulling the leaves apart gently and with your fingers. Continue until you reach the center. Stuff as much of the filling between the leaves as possible.

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Stuffed Artichoke

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) stockpot, 9 x 11 baking dish, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 heavy plate

Ingredients:
4 medium fresh artichokes
4 cups of Italian style breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, freshly grated
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated, plus 4 tablespoons
2 tablespoon pine nuts
6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
6 slices Prosciutto, julienned
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O. more if necessary
1 cup of good dry white wine
2 lemons, juiced (save juiced lemons for the water)
water

Directions:
Start by pulling off some of the outer leaves from the bottom. Then take a pair of kitchen scissors, trim the tips (the pointy sharp part) of the leaves. Next, cut the stems off so they will have a flat bottom.

Fill a 6-quart stockpot 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up with water. Cut 2 lemons in half, juice the lemons right into the water. Throw the remaining parts of the two lemons into the water too. This prevents the artichokes from turning brown and/or oxidizing.

As you can see I trimmed the stalks (stems) down quite a bit. I did throw the stalks into the pot because they’re edible. To keep the artichokes submerged in the boiling water, place a plate on top like this.

On medium-high heat, bring the artichokes up to a boil. Once up to a boil adjust the heat so as to keep the water at a boil but not so high the water boils over. Continue to cook the artichokes for 45 minutes or until fork-tender. Transfer the artichokes and the stems to a plate to cool. Prepare the filling while boiling the artichokes.

For the Filling:
In a large bowl add Italian-style bread crumbs, grated garlic, grated Parmigiano-Reggianocheese, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, golden raisins, freshly ground black pepper, Italian flat-leaf parsley, and julienned Prosciutto. The prosciutto and cheese add a saltiness to the filling, no extra salt is needed. Finally, add the *E.V.O.O., stir to combine. You want the consistency of wet sand. You may need to adjust the amount of oil depending on the type and amount of breadcrumbs used.

…Continued Directions:
Take the cooled artichoke and remove the center. This is where the thistle is located and is not editable.

Start by pulling the leaves apart gently until the center of the artichoke is exposed, take a tablespoon and dig out the thistle. It looks like a circular hairy piece also known as the choke. Continue to scrape out the choke until the center of the artichoke is completely hollowed out. Repeat this process for the remaining artichokes. For reference, refer to the pictures above.

To stuff, the artichokes, start with the bottom and work your way around pulling the leaves apart gently and with your fingers. Continue until you reach the center. Stuff as much of the filling between each row of leaves.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
In a large baking dish, place the stuffed artichokes along with the stems. Add a cup of white wine. Top each artichoke with more cheese and drizzle each one with a good amount of *E.V.O.O.

Bake for around 30 minutes, or until the filling is nice and hot, the cheese is golden brown, and the artichokes have absorbed almost all of the wine.

When you’re ready to eat the Stuffed Artichokes, just pull each leaf off using the leaf as a natural spoon, getting all that deliciousness off each one. As you make your way to the center, there you’ll find the best surprise of all, the heart of the artichoke. The heart is the most tender part of the whole artichoke. Don’t forget about those stems too, YUM!

Garnish with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley. This dish is a show stopper and any dinner party.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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