Topline Trends Tuesday: Bivalve curious

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I bet we can all agree that this recession is a bitch, but some good comes even from such pain. As a result of these leaner times, humble foods are getting the attention they deserve. Sure, we all still love Alaska king crab, truffles and foie gras, but we’re also rediscovering less prestigious foods and remembering how fantastic they taste, too.

Case in point: mussels and clams. Not only were these bivalves featured on a recent cover of Waitrose Food Illustrated, they’ve also been front and centre in other publications such as New York Magazine, Nation’s Restaurant News and the Times Online. And out there in real life, I had a very tasty dish of mussels with gnocchi at Butter in New York City last week.

This trend isn’t just for those who don’t want to splurge on the good stuff. No, even gourmets are jonesing for bivalves these days. A couple of weeks ago, I attended Smokerfest ’09, a party held in Pangaea Restaurant sous chef Shaun Edmonstone’s backyard and that dish of shells pictured above is proof that even spoiled chefs are glad to see these sea dwellers enjoying renewed popularity!

Do you enjoy mussels and clams often? If so, how do you like to prepare them? I find myself making classic white wine steamed mussels often but that’s about it. Do you have any other suggestions for me?

14 Responses to Topline Trends Tuesday: Bivalve curious

  1. I’m with you on the economy!!!

  2. truenorth67 says:

    I actually prefer mussels over clams…tastier and cheaper!

    I like them in pasta, with a broth, mussels and rice, fried, baked with feta (mussels saganaki)…I could go on & on….

  3. Jennifer MacKenzie says:

    It took living on PEI for almost a year for me to ebrace bivalves. Of course, minutes from harvest and dripping with sea water can’t be beat for fab flavour.

    I like Thai Green Curry Mussels with Lime and Basil: coconut milk, green curry, ginger, lime, etc.
    And simply steamed with mire poix served with drawn garlic butter for dipping, the Island way, is good too.

  4. cheryl says:

    My husband hates bivalves with a passion, so I never cook them at home. But take me to a family-style Italian restaurant and I’ll be the one ordering linguini con vongole every single time!

  5. Amy says:

    love seafood.

    Tho’ I do prefer clams over mussels…However I don’t cook them as often as I when I do purchase them I *must* cook them the day of…That and I need more “practice” cooking them….Maybe a sharper eye perchance : P

  6. Hélène says:

    I do enjoy them. I cook them in wine, garlic, butter. Simple and good. Talking about recession I’m not sure everyone is affected. Grocery carts are still full of expensive food in my area.

  7. Charmaine Broughton says:

    Yum, I think I know what I’m having for dinner! I like to add thinly sliced fennel and chopped tomatoes to my white wine broth and some crusty bread for dipping is a must……oh, I’m so excited for supper!!!

  8. danamccauley says:

    Helene: good to hear that the recession isn’t being felt everywhere. Are you still out west or did you move already?

    Charmaine, will your little dudes eat mussels? Oliver will. He discovered them at the party mentioned above (I think half of those empty shells are his!).

  9. I have probably 20 to 30 different ways of cooking mussels, and I think I love them all. They’re definitely one of my favorite foods.

  10. We must be on the same wavelength. I noticed these at the grocery store the other day and was talking to the fish monger about them. I’ve never cooked clams or mussels and was thinking it was time to learn.

    I was thinking a nice garlic and tomato broth with fresh bread to soak up the sauce.

  11. danamccauley says:

    Char, I think I like the way your thinking works!

  12. Diva says:

    I wish I had a lovely recipe to offer – I don’t, I’m sadly not on the bivalve curious train. I’ll will say that the husband loves them any way he can get them – which means when dining out – and he’s often enjoyed a spicy variety with a tomato based sauce and some chorizo in the mix for good measure.

  13. Cheryl A says:

    My only exposure to bivalves growing up were the smoked, tinned mussels and oysters the rest of the family ate. It was a brave young adult who tried them when I moved to Halifax, fresh. As a student they were fantastic – cheap, plentiful, and good for dinners with friends. Hmm, my mouth is watering…

  14. Saronn says:

    Oh my, I grew up eating all kinds of seafood, and I absolutely LOVE mussels. So happy to see that they are back in demand! I’m a recipe developer so I like them in many different ways – from east to west cuisines or vice-versa or a fusion of both. Months ago, I created my very own New Zealand mussel infused in Thai lemongrass and coconut with Banana jewels. If you’re looking for new and exciting mussel recipe, I think I may have one for you @ http://www.queenofhappycuisine.com. Enjoy🙂

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