Maine Mussels in White Wine

I went to Maine last weekend to visit family visiting from Colorado. And two of them happen to be chefs. They had been staying outside of Portland all week, eating lobster almost daily. By the time we arrived late in the week, it was the inlanders last hurrah for local seafood – a shellfish feast of boiled lobster, grilled local scallops, and Bank Island mussels. All three dishes were incredibly fresh and delicious (and cheap! lobster was the most expensive at $4.99/ pound), but the mussels were the star of the table. Big, meaty, and sweet, they were steamed in white wine from Western NY (personally driven to Maine by the vintner). Well, to back up, onion and garlic were diced and saute-ed in butter and olive oil, then the wine and mussels were added and the pot covered to steam. The key to bi-valves is to cook them until they are JUST done – as few as 3 – 5 minutes depending on the amount of seafood and size of pot.  Serve drowning in the cooking juices, and sop up liberally with locally made crusty bread.



So I took a two day mini-vaca to York, ME earlier this week and was able to enjoy a nice splurge of lobster. They are so cheap at local seafood spots – as low as $4 – so one could afford to be adventurous. But really, there’s nothing better than boiled lobster dipped in melted local butter. The man and I went to a great place in Kittery, ME where you can pick out your own lobster and bring your own wine and sides to accompany it while you sit on the deck off a quiet ocean inlet. I brought along cold steamed green bean salad (beans from the farm share this past week). I steamed them for maybe 3 minutes and doused them in ice water, then finished with a drizzle of good olive oil and toasted sunflower seeds. Dessert was sliced local peaches and figs drizzled with local honey. As fresh as the sides were, however, the lobster stole the show.