mussels, cherry tomatoes, chili, lovage, wine, fresh shallot


I did not know that the pea crab, like ourselves, loves mussels as much as it loves oysters. Tonight we found a number of them in our bowls of shellfish (t took us a few minutes to realize where the extra crunch was coming from).

The pea crab: sent to remind us that food isn’t made in factories, or at least that it shouldn’t be.

While they have occasionally been considered a delicacy here and elsewhere in the world, occasionally remaining so even today, I can’t imagine, even if you could get past the icky factor, how you’d be able to accumulate enough of the tiny creatures to make even a small splash on a plate.

FOOTNOTE: From the department of, ‘you learn something new every day‘: “A male pea crab will rub the edge of a shellfish containing a female pea crab for hours until the shellfish opens and allows the male pea crab to enter.” Sweet.

If I haven’t totally turned off the reader, the rest of this post is likely to be a bit more conventually toothsome.

  • two pounds of mussels, purchased that same day in the Union Square Greenmarket from Blue Moon Fish, lightly-scrubbed and de-bearded where necessary, then combined in a large, heavy enameled cast iron pot with 2 cups of beautiful red cherry tomatoes from Lower Hayfields, a friend’s garden in Garrison, halved, plus half of a cup of good white wine (Sandy Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2014, from Chelsea Wine Vault), most of one large fresh shallot from Lucky Dog Organic Farm, about a quarter of a teaspoon of crushed dried Sicilian pepperoncino from Buon Italia, 3 tablespoons of rich ‘Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter‘, a generous amount of freshly-ground pepper, and 3 tablespoons of coarsely-chopped lovage from Keith’s Farm, everything steamed over high heat for a very few minutes, served in shallow bowls with a sprinkling of additional chopped lovage, and accompanied by slices of a Rustico Classico from Eataly (there were seconds).
  • the wine was a French (Loire) white, Éric Chevalier Clos de la Butte Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu 2014
  • the music was a program of new music from Q2 Music, streaming