Fourth stop: France (Provençal Bouillabaisse)
Someone should have warned me how long it takes to clean mussels and clams. It’s actually the most time consuming part about making a Provençal bouillabaisse. It makes me wonder how much time restaurant kitchens spend cleaning shellfish. I imagine, they don’t brush every single mussel or clam to make sure it’s clean (and cooks probably don’t apologize to mussels every time they yanked off a beard).
Choosing the white wine was kind of fun, only because I know almost absolutely nothing about wine pairings. I had to frantically google “dry white wine mussels and clams” to save myself from just grabbing something organic with a nice label. And look at what I found.
A wine infographic! Why the hell not. So I proceeded to look at every variation of “light, herbal, grassy” and “light, citrus, lemon” since neither “floral” nor “nutty” sounded fun for the mussels or clams. I went for a total grab bag, a 2011 Pinot Grigio by Quail Creek that was selling for $6.99 at Whole Foods. And it turned out pretty good! Well… says the girl who’s really a hardcore craft beer drinker.
The bouillabaisse is super quick to cook. You basically sauté the fennel with the tomatoes, toss in the garlic, add the white wine, clam juice, boil for a few minutes and then throw in all of the shellfish. I think once the shellfish made it into the pot, it was another 5 minutes before we sat down to eat. Very summery dish!
Next stop: Germany.