With the last days of summer upon us, I wanted to celebrate both corn and tomatoes together in a dish before they disappear til next year. Growing up in Philly I was lucky enough to have Jersey Corn & Jersey Tomatoes piled high in every market and celebrated on every restaurant’s menu. I love all types of seafood with these magical ingredients but I especially love a huge bowl of steamed Pemaquid mussels with them. While I was at the farmers market picking up my ingredients I kept getting blasted with the scent of fresh basil from the winds blowing in my face. All I could think about then was making pesto and there, at that moment, the dish was born.
Pemaquid mussels are grown sustainably using the raft & rope method on a small farm in Maine not too far from Prince Edward Island, which we all know is famous for their mussel cultivation. The cold waters along the coast of Maine keep the mussels sweet, briny, and delicious. Plus the meat inside is on average 35-50% larger than wild-grown mussels and I have happily become a huge fan of them. Bonus they are grown in America!
yield: 2.5 Quart
3 Lbs | 1380g Pemaquid Mussels, de-bearded
2 Each | 460g Corn Cobs (plus some kernels)
4 Cup | 850g Water
8 Each | 40g Garlic Cloves, sliced
3 Each | 40g Shallots, sliced
½ Cup | 120g White Wine
½ Cup | 50g Ginger, sliced
1 Each Lemon
Lemons wedges for garnish
- Wash and de-beard your Pemaquid mussels
- Remove corn kernels from the cobs. Reserve 1 cup of kernels for executing the final dish.
- Cut corn cobs into 2 inch chunks
- Peel and thinly slice your garlic, ginger and shallots
- Heat a large pot to medium and coat with a neutral oil
- Add garlic, shallot & ginger. Sweat, lightly season.
- Add corn and cobs, sauté quickly, lightly season.
- Deglaze with white wine
- Add mussels
- Add water, stir, cover and cook for 30 – 40 minutes
- Strain with a fine mesh sieve / chinois
note: A few tips for cutting corn off the cobs
- Place a towel underneath a cob that you hold upright this will stop the kernels from rolling all over the counter and onto the floor
- Stand and hold the cob upright in a bowl or deep sided container. When cutting all the kernels will stay contained
- Cut the cob in half and lay it on its side, repeat either step above with a towel or container.
- If you do not have a fine mesh sieve you can strain through cheesecloth or a coffee filter after straining through a colander first. It will last in your fridge for 3 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- When buying corn choose the kind you like best either yellow, white or bi-color. All have different flavor profiles. Sweet white corn is my favorite. You want to also look for the husk to be nice a tight around the cob and not all dried out.
yield: 2 Cup
- Heat oven to 325 degrees F,
- Lightly coat and toss pine nuts in a neutral oil and salt. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Toast for 5-7 minutes, just until the nuts are golden blonde. Gently toss the nuts halfway through baking. Set aside to cool.
- Pick the leaves of basil, discarding the stems. Wash and spin your basil leaves dry.
- Freshly grate your Parmesan cheese.
- Rough chop the garlic
- In a food processor add cooled toasted pine nuts, chopped and garlic. Blend just until a paste forms.
- Add in all the basil leaves, drizzle in olive oil and blend until smooth
- Add cheese, pulse to just incorporate. Taste and add salt and fresh cracked black pepper to your liking.
- Feel free to sub out the pine nuts for any other nut that you like or a seed such as flax or pepita if you have a nut allergy.
While creating this Mussels recipe, I accumulated a good amount of unused basil. Instead of letting it go to waste I chose to dry it out to make a dried pesto. In the mixture there’s dried sweet basil, chopped pine nuts, garlic, touch of salt, & nutritional yeast. The yeast gives a nice creamy-umami finish that you would usually find in parmesan.
How to enjoy Pesto blend:
pasta, veggies, french fries, & more
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yield: 2-4 servings
40 Each Pemaquid Mussels, de-bearded
4 Each | 20g Garlic Cloves, sliced
1 ½ Each | 35g Shallots, sliced
4 Cup | Corn Stock
1 Cup | 155g Corn Kernels
½ Cup | 275g Heirloom or Cherry Tomatoes, diced
2 Teaspoon Pesto
2 Tablespoon | 30g Unsalted Butter
1 Each Lemon
- Thinly slice shallot and garlic.
- If you are using large Heirloom tomatoes cut into large dice. If you have cherry tomatoes cut in half.
- Heat a high side sautéed pan to medium heat and coat the bottom with a neutral oil and butter.
- Sweat your garlic and shallots taking care not to get color on them and lightly season with salt and black pepper.
- Add the 40 washed and debearded mussels to the pan and stir, working quickly.
- Add the corn and mussel stock, tomatoes and reserved corn kernels from the cobs. Lightly salt.
- Stir and cover with a lid or foil. Cook until the mussels pop open.
- Remove from the heat, add Pesto, and stir to incorporate. Taste to adjust seasoning – add salt and black pepper if needed
- Spoon into large bowls, making sure to pour the delicious broth over top and serve with warm crusty bread, lemon wedges and more pesto on the side.
- If you like a little spice to your mussels add 1 tsp | 3 grams of red chili flake or Aleppo.
- Albarino is the perfect wine to drink alongside of this dish.
- When storing mussels before cooking. It is best to keep them in a perforated pan with ice on top. Do not cover with plastic wrap – your mussels need to breath. It is best to cover them with a damp kitchen towel.
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