Monday, January 26, 2009

Clams and mussels with cavalo nero

I made dinner for my dad's birthday and wanted to do something a little unexpected, so I turned to Sunday Suppers at Lucques for inspiration. I came across this recipe for clams and mussels with white beans, cavalo nero and vermouth and thought it sounded perfect.

There are a couple different components to this dish. The first is the white beans. The recipe called for cannellini beans, but I used a similar sized white bean that I already had in the house. One and a half cups of dried beans are slowly simmered with toasted fennel seed, onion, rosemary, chile de arbol, thyme and olive oil. The beans cook for about an hour and a half, or until tender. I made the beans in advance and refrigerated them in their cooking liquid for later use. In a pinch, you could probably get away with using canned beans.

Next up is the cavalo nero. This is also known as tuscan kale, lacinato kale, or dinosaur kale. The flavor is similar to your standard curly kale, but the texture is much more pleasant.
You want to strip the leafy greens off the tougher stems, and then tear the cavalo nero into bite sized pieces.

Once the cavalo nero has been processed, it's time to work on putting everything together. The aromatics consist of fennel, red onion, rosemary, thyme, chile de arbol and sliced garlic.
You need a large pot for this recipe. Some olive oil is heated in the pot, and the aromatics are added to saute for a few minutes. The cavalo nero is added to the pot and cooked until wilted. The beans with about a cup of their cooking liquid are added next. Finally, the clams, mussels and a cup of dry vermouth go into the pot. I had a little over 3 pounds of mussels and clams. I nestled the clams and mussels into the bean mixture, brought the liquid to a boil, and covered the pot. The mussels and clams just need to steam for about 7 minutes - check periodically to see if they've opened up. When they're open, they're ready. Clams generally take longer than mussels to cook.
Before serving, season to taste with salt and pepper and swirl about a tablespoon of butter into the pot. I made a loaf of walnut bread to serve alongside the shellfish.

This was a fairly time consuming dish from start to finish, but definitely worth the extra effort.

36 comments:

Bridgett said...

This looks and sounds fabulous and I know my hubby would flip for it.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Wonderful dish Sara-it definitely looks like it was worth the effort! :)

Helene said...

Now we're talking, everything I like together. All I would need is a glass of wine to drink with that.

Pam said...

What a wonderful dinner you made. It looks like a restaurant quality meal.

LaDue & Crew said...

This looks wonderful! I'm glad you stopped by again! It's been a bit since I've stopped in , and glad I did. You have so many neat things going on here!

Anonymous said...

This was delicious!!

Cheryl said...

You are quite amazing, that recipe is way to complex for me!

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

That sounds so heavenly to me. I love every ingredient!

Barbara Bakes said...

I always learn something new on your blog - cavalo nero - I'll have to look for it at the market.

Elra said...

Sara, you are really talented cook. I love kale, but never really pay attention to the name. I will next time. Looks delish Sara.
Cheers,
Elra

lilveggiepatch said...

Mmm I love clams AND mussels, but I've never made either! It does look time consuming, but I'm sure both you and your dad and your bellies were pleased with the result!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I'm not a big fan of mussels, but I'm sure this dish tastes great!

Cheers,

Rosa

The Caked Crusader said...

Yum. I love mussels but am too much of a scaredy cat to cook them!

Wine Blog said...

I tried eating some mussels the other day and almost gaged. I should be able to eat a neat seafood like this and especially one I could pair with wine so brilliantly, but there's just something about the texture I can't do!

Donna-FFW said...

Your dad sure is lucky. I bet he loved it. Once again, I must say I am amazed that you whip up your own recipes with such lovely, healthy combination!! And make them look so beautiful!

pigpigscorner said...

Looks really good! I've never seen or had cavalo nero before.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Wow your dad really got a top shelf dinner! Everything looks and sounds incredible.

5 Star Foodie said...

Wow, what an amazing dish! I have never cooked with cavalo nero - will definitely have to look for it in the store.

Cathy said...

That looks amazing!!!

Judy said...

The kale looks so appetizing, but I've never seen that variety here. I love your unique combinations of veggies and herbs.

nicole said...

I haven't had calms in a while. It looks like it was worth the wait. Looks delicious.

Pearl said...

i've never seen that variety of kale! so cute though!

Natashya said...

Oh that sounds so good! I had seen cavalo nero written before and had no idea it was kale.
What a treat for dad's birthday, he must have been thrilled!

The Blonde Duck said...

It looks so elegant!

ChefBliss.com said...

My taste buds are tingling! I had a bad batch of mussels a few years ago and haven't cooked them since. I may have to get back in the game on this one!!

Olga said...

Yum! Mussels are so very good :)

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

This looks so great!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow, that looks great! I love my greens and shellfish!

Jan said...

Lucky old dad, I say. That looks and sounds divine, I was drooling all over my keyboard just reading about it. :-)

Karen said...

Nice birthday dinner for Dad! It sounds delicious - I love mussels!

Annie said...

My mom would love this dish. I don't usually eat kale (I don't really know why) but this sounds like the perfect recipe to start. :)

Selba said...

Yummy mussels...

Ana Powell said...

Hi Sarah
Happy Birthday to you dad.
You really presented him with a lovely meal.
All my love x

Clumbsy Cookie said...

All I need is a slice of bread to dip while eating. Sounds great!

Maria said...

Very fancy looking!! Great job!

Dragon said...

I think I want this for my birthday!