I just came home from a wine tasting at the Escuela de Hostelería de Salamanca which is the local hotel management school. In addition to actual degrees, they do short courses, in this case 2.5 hours, for aficionados like myself. We did a “vertical” tasting of Protos Crianza wines, which are a well known Ribera del Duero wine. Vertical refers to the fact that instead of tasting a variety of wines from one year, we tasted the same wine from several years, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008, to be exact. So you get to taste how they have aged in the bottle over the years.
It was pretty fun. We started out by trying to identify some smells from these little bottles – the teacher was pretty impressed that I got 4 of 7 right, more than any of the other students, but I’m not getting too excited because I have to recognize that I was the youngest, only non-smoker and one of only two females (and everyone knows the ladies have a better sense of smell) in the class of 8. 2008 was my favorite and I have confirmed what I have always known, I prefer fruitier, younger wines with less tannins. But it was fun to learn how to look at, classify, and correctly taste wine.
Yesterday I spent the morning with my dog at the doggy hair salon turning him from the rastafari man to a little french poodle.
OMG he has eyes!! And spaghetti legs… But I’m so in love with him right now!
Anyway, back to those delicious mussels. I bought a kilo (or 2.2 lbs) of fresh mussels at the supermarket yesterday, mainly because they were 1.50 euros, and made them for lunch. It was raining and I’m on semi-vacation, so it was like, yeah, I’m going to eat a pound of mussels and drink some white wine!
It was a pretty simple endeavor, which I had always been a little hesitant about, not sure why. I finely chopped half an onion and sautéed it for about 5 minutes in a little bit of olive oil with a couple cloves of garlic. Then I added a pinch of saffron and then a half cup (120ml) of white wine and a cup (240ml) of broth (fish broth would probably be best, but I only had chicken on hand). Then I added about 3 tablespoons (45ml) of heavy cream, mixed it up and brought it to a boil. Once I had it at a simmer, I added the mussels, which I had previously cleaned, covered the pot and let them steam in the broth for 5 minutes. After checking to see that they had all opened, I took them off the heat and served them up with all that nice broth and a huge hunk of french baguette to soak up that yum. Don’t add any salt to it, other than what’s in the broth and if you get it “low-sodium” it’s probably better. The mussels are sea salty enough!
After eating up all these mussels and dunking my bread in the broth, I ate, or drank, the rest of the broth like a soup. Then I took a nap. Haha. Vacation is awesome.
- 2 lbs (1 kilo) fresh, LIVE!, mussels, washed and de-bearded
- 1/2 of a medium onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (whole or finely chopped, depending on your feelings about garlic)
- one pinch of saffron
- 1/2 cup (120ml) white wine
- 1 cup (240ml) fish or chicken broth
- 3 tbsp (45ml) heavy cream
- white wine for drinking and a baguette for dunking and soaking