Author Notes: This hors d’oeuvre works well for dinner parties because you can make the marinated mussels and the sunchoke purée a day before your guests arrive. The smokiness and acidity of the mussels balance well with the creamy sweetness of the purée. If you’re looking to make a good impression with an appetizer but you don’t want to be too stressed in the kitchen as guests are showing up, this recipe is a winner.
Makes: about 40 small crostini
Photo by James Ransom
Mussels Escabeche Crostini with Sunchoke PuréePrint Recipe
- Olive oil
- 1 pinch red chili flakes
- 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 pound mussels, de-bearded
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup white wine
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1 pound sunchokes
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped parsley
Add olive oil to a large skillet until the bottom of the skillet is lightly coated. Add a pinch of red chili flakes to the cold skillet. Adjust the heat to medium, and when the oil is hot, add the shallots. Add a pinch of salt and cook the shallots, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften and turn translucent. Add the mussels and the bay leaves, increase the heat to high, and add the white wine. Add the smoked paprika and swirl the pan to incorporate.
Using a pair of tongs, remove each mussel as it opens, placing the opened mussel in a large mixing bowl. When all of the open mussels have been transferred to the mixing bowl, turn off the heat in the skillet and discard the bay leaves. Add the sherry vinegar to the skillet. Taste the liquid in the skillet, and adjust the seasoning as necessary with salt and smoked paprika. The flavor of the liquid should be strong and acidic. The mussels will marinate in this liquid.
Gently remove each mussel from its shell. Discard the shell and throw the meat back into the skillet. If there is any liquid at the bottom of your mixing bowl when you are finished removing the mussels from their shells, add this liquid back into the skillet. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the refrigerator and marinate the mussels for at least 1 hour but preferably overnight.
Peel the sunchokes using a vegetable peeler, and then slice them into thin rounds. Set a large saucepan over high heat and add the sunchokes, crushed garlic clove, and chicken stock. Season the sunchokes with a couple pinches of salt. When the liquid starts to boil, reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until the sunchokes begin to soften and the chicken stock has reduced by half. Add the heavy cream and continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Transfer the contents of the saucepan to a blender, along with four tablespoons of liquid from the marinating mussels. Add the lemon juice and blend until smooth. Taste. Adjust with salt and lemon juice as necessary.
Heat the oven to 425° F. Cut twenty thin rounds from the baguette. Cut each round in half. Place the cut baguette on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Cook in the oven for approximately 3 minutes, until golden and crispy.
Before assembling, make sure that the mussels have been out of the refrigerator for about 15 minutes so that they are not too. Take a crostini, smear it with a little sunchoke purée, and top it with one or two mussels, making sure to include a little shallot too. Garnish with chopped parsley.
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