I had an urge for mussels the other day. I went to the market and was told that they don’t order mussels during hot months. I then remembered “Don’t eat shellfish in months without an R.” It can be risky to enjoy bivalves and mollusks when the waters are warm because of their ingestion of potentially toxic algae. I found it interesting that there were live clams and oysters in the display case. Clearly a case of mussels discrimination! I had to improvise, so I went to the freezer case and picked out a bag of frozen mussels and a bag of frozen clams and took them home.
I steamed them in a mix of clam juice, a splash of white wine, a little tomato water with chopped tomatoes. At then end, a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes perked it all up. Tomato water is an amazing thing. When working with tomatoes, save every drop of the water they shed. I sometimes chop tomatoes and let them sit in a strainer so I can catch the water. It is a nice layer of flavor in soups and sauces and shouldn’t be tossed out.
My niece had given me a head of red cabbage from her garden. I found a good sounding recipe for a red cabbage and fennel slaw with a dressed with fresh orange juice, cider vinegar and minced fresh ginger. If it says fennel, I’ll try it! The slaw had the cabbage and fennel and scallion greens and grated carrot. The recipe called for the dressed slaw to be refrigerated for at least a half hour before serving. The slaw was tasty, but the cabbage was a little on the tough side. I think I’ll try it again with more vinegar and more time in the fridge. The acid in the vinegar should soften the cabbage and provide a little more tartness to the dressing. All in all, it’s not a bad slaw; it just needs a little practice and manipulation.