Mussels with Saffron Cream SauceFebruary 16, 2015
Throughout the centuries saffron has been a symbol of wealth and elegance. Cleopatra used saffron water to keep her skin soft and because she felt it improved her lovemaking skills. Roman Emperor Nero sprinkled the streets with saffron water to honor his return to Rome. Persians considered it a tonic for the heart as it was thought to alleviate melancholy. A spice consisting of the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus, it was introduced into Spain by the Arabs and later cultivated in Mediterranean regions and elsewhere in Europe.
1 large yellow onion, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
¾ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 pounds cultivated mussels, rinsed well and debearded
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Thinly slice the onion.
Add oil to a skillet set over medium heat. When hot add onion and until translucent. Add the saffron and ½ teaspoon salt and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
Add wine and bring to a boil, then stir in cream, pepper, remaining salt, and mussels. Cook, covered, checking after 8 minutes and discarding any mussels that remain unopened. Transfer opened mussels to soup bowls with a slotted spoon.
Stir parsley into broth, pour over mussels and serve with warm baguette. (Garnish with lemon wedges if you’d like.)